Morning Briefing Global Edition

Sex Parties for Salesmen

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An offering to Bacchus, or an Ergo staff meeting?
  • 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

    • Berlin’s new airport is now scheduled to open late next year.
    • The government today plans to introduce purchase subsidies of €4,000 for electric cars and €3,000 for hybrids.
    • The European Union has published a strategy paper on nuclear energy that directly contradicts Germany’s renewable energy policy, which calls for a phase-out of nuclear energy by 2020.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Too old, too big, too inflexible – catalogue retailer Otto seemed destined for the history books. But things turned out differently. The family-owned firm has reinvented itself as a digital company ready to take on Amazon.

In an interview, patriarch Michael Otto talks about masterminding a turnaround in a traditional mail order company that oftentimes suffered from inertia. His unexpected triumph is our example.

 

The European Union will publish a strategy paper on nuclear energy that directly contradicts German energy policy, according to German media reports.

The proposal defends the merits of nuclear energy while planning for a future of cooperation between states in research and financing. Germany planned on leading the renewable energy movement by example, but instead became a warning tale.

 

Visco must be a student of Italian philosophy, which teaches us that one hand washes the other, and both together wash the face.

ECB president Mario Draghi may suffer repeated Teutonic assaults on his monetary policy, but his successor at Banca d’Italia, Ignazio Visco, has his back. In an interview, the governor of Italy’s central bank defended Draghi’s policies of buying government bonds and flooding markets with cheap money. He insisted that deflation is the devil and dismissed concerns over conflicts between savers and borrowers.

Visco must be a student of Italian philosophy, which teaches us that one hand washes the other, and both together wash the face.

 

Most companies like to reward high-performing sales staff with a taste of the winnings. Ergo Insurance subsidy HMI’s version of giving thanks was to host sex parties in places like Jamaica’s Hedonism II adult-only resort.

Parent company Munich Re is now hauling sales bosses into court to atone for past sins. An internal company publication quoted a staff member as saying, “No matter how you look at it, it was definitely a blast.” The judge in Hamburg will undoubtedly deliver a different opinion.

 

The beverage industry has some equally compelling arguments for government assistance.

Chief editor Kevin O’Brien went over to the new-but-already-old Berlin airport to chat with Karsten Mühlenfeld, the man who now holds dominion over one of Germany’s most famous construction quagmires.

In the exclusive video interview, Mühlenfeld gives us a frank explanation for the five-year delay of the opening – now planned for the second half of next year. His honesty gave us the feeling he’s the right man for the job – and almost makes you forget one of the best jokes that circulated on social media over the past years: “Chuck Norris is the new boss at the Berlin airport. Opening is tomorrow at 7:30 a.m.”

 

What do welfare recipients and the auto industry have in common? Both feed regularly at the state treasury trough. The government today plans to introduce purchase subsidies of €4,000 for electric cars and €3,000 for hybrids.

Why stop there? The beverage industry has some equally compelling arguments for government assistance. Global warming is leaving us all quite parched; therefore, a drinking subsidy seems appropriate. Left, right or moderate, we could all get behind free beer for all.

 

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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