Morning Briefing Global Edition

CSI: Frankfurt

crime scene
Bafin's top execs are taking on tasks you might not expect to see in their job description.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    My Handelsblatt Morning Briefing Global Edition gives you an overview of the most important news from Germany and Europe – in a concise, two-minute read.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen wants flesh out Germany’s armed forces with 14,300 more soldiers and 4,400 civilian workers by 2023.
    • Bafin, Germany’s official financial regulatory body, employs some 2,500 people and is headquartered in Bonn and Frankfurt.
    • Members of Angela Merkel’s conservatives meet today to discuss how to iron out a concept by this summer on how to lessen the burden on the aviation sector.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Barack Obama will be the first U.S. president to visit Hiroshima. Almost 71 years after the Americans dropped the atomic bomb on the Japanese city, it’s a powerful gesture. On the last stint of his tenure, Obama has turned his attention from party politics and fundraisers to writing the last lines of his page in the history books.

 

You can’t say the same for some German politicians. Chancellor Angela Merkel and Horst Seehofer, who chairs her Bavarian ally, aren’t going to be exchanging friendship bracelets any time soon. After months of bickering over refugee policy, federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière agreed with the Bavarians to extend border controls.

But that isn’t enough for Seehofer; he wants Merkel to wave a white flag. In an interview with Munich’s Süddeutsche Zeitung he said the pact “legally sealed the end of welcome culture,” another slap at Merkel. With party friends like that, who needs the anti-immigrant, anti-Europe AfD party?

 

The new soldiers will still want to be paid when von der Leyen has long since put her feet up, drinking a tall glass of lemonade in her rocking chair.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, by contrast, made sure not to dump on the chancellor yesterday at Handelsblatt’s Deutschland Dinner in Berlin.

He wouldn’t vote for U.S. Republican Donald Trump or Turkish President Erdoğan, he said, but you still have to engage them in politics. Just as ex-chancellor Willy Brandt once spoke with the Soviets and Schäuble once did with the East Germans, Merkel has to deal with leaders in Russia, Turkey and elsewhere, he added. The great straight shooter of German politics wowed the crowd – and turned the evening into a lesson in realpolitik.

 

With fears of terror attacks looming, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen wants to beef up Germany’s armed forces for the first time since the Cold War. The army needs 14,300 more soldiers and 4,400 civilian workers by 2023, she said yesterday. Germany’s robust economy inspired her to make the call.

The only problem: A good economy can quickly fade, but the extra costs will remain, regardless of GDP growth. The new soldiers will still want to be paid when von der Leyen has long since put her feet up, drinking a tall glass of lemonade in her rocking chair.

 

Germany’s aviation sector wants its share. After BMW, VW and Daimler successfully lobbied the government for e-car subsidies, the aviation industry has its hand out for poor old Lufthansa and Air Berlin.

German trade associations know how to milk the taxpayer like a dairy cow. They have no qualms about sauntering up to whisper: “Got milk?”

 

German trade associations know how to milk the taxpayer like a dairy cow. They have no qualms about sauntering up to whisper: “Got milk?”

Today Handelsblatt Global Edition lets you in on the messy divorce playing out at Germany’s biggest utility E.ON, which is splitting into a conventional and a renewables business. The family silver is being pushed back and forth to secure the viability of the energy giant.

“The sun doesn’t send a bill” is the old mantra chanted by German supporters of green energy. CEO Johannes Teyssen and E.ON shareholders know better. The sun is burning a gaping hole in E.ON’s balance sheet.

 

You may think working at a financial regulator – in Germany, of all places – would be the driest job imaginable. Not so. These days Bafin president Felix Hufeld and his agents are acting like forensic investigators in an episode of CSI: Frankfurt.

No wonder: The Panama Papers and dividend-stripping scandals have them chasing bad guys all over the place. It makes you think of CSI: Miami star Horatio Caine, who when asked for a plan, says: “I” – putting on his sunglasses – “am gonna get to the truth.”

 

My Handelsblatt Morning Briefing Global Edition is an e-mail newsletter sent to your inbox at around 6 a.m. each weekday Wall Street time. It gives you the most important news from Germany and Europe. To reach me: g.steingart@vhb.de

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