Morning Briefing Global Edition

Freedom to Agree at the AfD

AfD party convention
Germany’s right-wing AfD party likes freedom - at least on paper.
  • 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.
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  • Facts

    Facts

    • Greenpeace is setting up a transparent reading room at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, where the general public can read the secret TTIP documents.
    • Some of Deutsche Bank’s major investors may call for Achleitner to step down at the bank’s shareholders’ meeting on May 19.
    • 16,000 jobs are to be cut at Kaiser’s Tengelmann in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
  • Audio

    Audio

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NGOs set the agenda in our world today – just ask Greenpeace. The organization passed on slightly outdated, secret documents from the negotiations on the TTIP proposed free-trade agreement to German TV broadcasters NDR and WDR, as well as Munich newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Reading the report, you get the sneaking suspicion nothing’s going to come of the trans-Atlantic pact. But maybe that’s just wishful thinking or selective editing from the folks at Greenpeace.

 

Friendship, like money, is easier made than kept. Once upon a time, Deutsche Bank supervisory board chief Paul Achleitner went to bat for star lawyer Georg Thoma, putting him on the board’s control committee. Now the unsubtle sacking of Thoma is unsettling investors.

Corporate expert Carl-Christian Freidank said the ouster could have a “disastrous impact” on the bank. Achleitner seems to have lost control of the board too. Unfortunately for Thoma, the whole mess proves one thing: Friends may come and go, but enemies tend to stick around and multiply.

 

Unfortunately for Thoma, the whole mess proves one thing: Friends may come and go, but enemies tend to stick around and multiply.

Freedom of religion is of utmost importance to Germany’s right-wing AfD party – at least on paper. Now the insurgent anti-immigrant, anti-Europe group wants to shut the door on Islam.

At a party convention last weekend, its members agreed in a formal vote: “Islam does not belong to Germany.” Those who pleaded for dialogue with Muslims were shouted down. The AfD supposedly also prizes freedom of opinion – but apparently only the freedom to agree with the opinions of party leaders.

 

Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel was willing to do everything to preserve 16,000 jobs at supermarket chain Kaiser’s Tengelmann. He approved its sale to rival Edeka provided the jobs were safeguarded.

But according to Handelsblatt research, it looks like a third of positions will be slashed in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia alone. The Green Party says it didn’t expect Edeka to make “Gabriel look like such a fool.” He should have heeded Otto von Bismarck: “When you say you agree to a thing in principle, you mean that you haven’t the slightest intention of carrying it out in practice.”

 

The AfD supposedly also prizes freedom of opinion – but apparently only the freedom to agree with the opinions of party leaders.

Barack Obama was in rare form at his last White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington. He mocked Senator Ted Cruz for calling a basketball hoop a “basketball ring,” adding: “What else is in his lexicon? Baseball sticks? Football hats?”

Contrary to popular opinion, Donald Trump does have foreign policy experience, Obama said: “with Miss Sweden, Miss Argentina, Miss Azerbaijan.”

Hillary Clinton was like everyone’s aging relative who can’t figure out Facebook, he said. “Did you get my poke? Is it on my wall? I’m not sure I’m using this right. Love, Aunt Hillary.” All that’s left to say is: lol.

 

Berlin hosted a big party last weekend. More than 2,200 readers, business partners and staff celebrated Handelsblatt Publishing Group’s 70th anniversary and the launch of its “Business Club” of readers and opinion leaders.

Owner Dieter von Holtzbrinck looked back on the rise of Germany’s No. 1 business daily and Handelsblatt Publisher Gabor Steingart preached optimism in the face of a chaotic world.

Eurovision Song Contest winner Lena was the musical highlight. Pop philosopher Richard David Precht pleaded for a new set of manners at the corporate dinner table. In the early days of civilization, a wooly mammoth could only be slain and eaten when many people worked together, he noted. And it’s true: Most things are just more fun in good company.

 

My Handelsblatt Morning Briefing Global Edition is an e-mail newsletter sent to your inbox at around 6 a.m. Wall Street time. It gives you the most important news from Germany and Europe. To contact me: jakobs@handelsblatt.com

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