Sometimes governments try to break up cartels, but the European Commission tomorrow seems poised to do the opposite. Günther Oettinger, Germany’s European commissioner for the digital economy, will present a plan to let carriers like Deutsche Telekom block new rivals from landline networks that were once built with taxpayer euros. Which begs the question: If taxpayers built these grids, why are they still paying out the nose to use them?
Our journalists conducted a fascinating interview with the head of Frontex, the man in charge of guarding the outer borders of the European Union. One interesting fact: Before the ink was dry on the E.U.-Turkey deal, up to 2,500 refugees each day were crossing into Europe; after the deal, just 250. Which only goes to show that the real authority controlling the E.U.’s outer border is not Frontex, but Turkish President Recep Erdoğan.
Such piecemeal responses to Europe’s refugee crisis help to bolster isolationist policies and right-wing extremism, according to George Soros. The legendary U.S. investor argues in a guest column that the Continent’s refugee strategy has four fundamental flaws – and that Angela Merkel is one of them.
Yesterday was a black day for German industrial gas maker Linde: Its merger with U.S. rival Praxair to make the world’s largest gas company burst. The market’s reaction was swift and brutal – Linde shares plummeted 8 percent. Supervisory Board Chairman Wolfgang Reitzle, the man with the plan, now has to reboot and devise a new vision for the future of the DAX company. Knowing the gung-ho manager that Reitzle is, this setback will only spur him on to greater things.
E.ON CEO Johannes Teyssen was visibly relieved. “We did it,” he said yesterday after Germany’s largest utility sold shares for the first time in Uniper, its new coal, gas and hydro spinoff and a cornerstone of its restructuring. But the market made Teyssen pay dearly for E.ON’s flight into green energy: Buyers said Uniper was worth €4 billion less than E.ON had estimated, forcing another massive writedown. The financial hit was expected, but an expected loss is still a loss.
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