Morning Briefing Global Edition

Ditching Diesel

This morning, Germany’s high court upheld the ECB’s 2012 rescue plan for eurozone nations. Germany had challenged the bond-buying program, saying Mario Draghi’s vow to do “whatever it takes” improperly put savers on the hook for the eurozone debts of free-spending neighbors such as Greece and Italy. But the ruling does nothing to end the saving account crisis of German taxpayers, who are the real victims of Draghi’s policies.

 

When a journalist sits down with Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller, the gloves come off. It’s nothing personal. Our exclusive interview with the man fighting to restore the reputation of Germany’s largest traded company reveals that VW is pivoting from diesel technology to an e-car future. Less revolutionary was Müller’s defense of VW’s untimely, multi-million-euro bonuses during Dieselgate for its top managers. Looking ahead to life without patriarchs Ferdinand Piëch and Martin Winterkorn, Müller said when “planning for the future, we need to make do without them.”

 

Considering yesterday’s announcement that German prosecutors are probing Winterkorn and reportedly VW-brand boss Herbert Diess for market manipulation, Müller’s desire for a clean break with the past is commendable, but perhaps impossible. In the quest to figure out who knew what when, it’s best for Müller to keep as much distance with the past as possible.

 

Billionaire industrialist Friedrich Loh, who holds a 10-percent stake in robotics maker Kuka, hinted in an interview that he may be open to selling out to Midea, the Chinese appliance maker that wants to acquire a key supplier to Germany’s auto industry. Loh seemed to rule out a counter bid, describing Midea’s current offer of $130 per share as generous. Looks like shareholders may start enjoying some Chinese cooking.

 

The pro-Europe camp speaks in Handelsblatt today through former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown: “In order to meet the needs and goals of the British in the 21st century, we must let go of the past and accept that the present is determined by globalization. Britain’s future lies in leading Europe, not leaving it.” If David Cameron had been similarly adamant, this vote would not be happening. Brown’s successor is asking Britons to vote on an alternative. But Britain outside of the EU only works if you believe in an alternative universe, where all for one does not equal one for all.

 

Fifty Handelsblatt and Handelsblatt Global Edition colleagues will be reporting on the referendum from London for the rest of the week. Check out the schedule of events we are hosting at our election headquarters in London’s Hoxton neighborhood, please send us an email if you want to stop by in person – you are more than welcome: f.vontucher@vhb.de

 

 

Photo of the Day

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Italian composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi performs one of his own compositions on a floating platform in the Arctic Ocean, in front of the Wahlenbergbreen glacier, in Svalbard, Norway. The composition, “Elegy for the Arctic,” was inspired by eight million voices from around the world calling for Arctic protection. Source: Pedro Armestre/Greenpeace Spain via AP
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