Morning Briefing Global Edition

VW’s Tug o’ War

tug of war
VW's shareholders are all pulling in different directions.
  • 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

    • One person was killed and three injured this morning when a man with a knife stabbed passengers at a train station near Munich.
    • Greece’s loans from the euro zone total €200 billion.
    • Qatar, VW’s third-largest shareholder, is proposing a woman as a candidate for its seat on the supervisory board, Handelsblatt has learned.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Facebook is struggling to save face: According to a report on tech blog Gizmodo, Facebook’s own “news curators” suppressed conservative news stories on the social network’s influential “trending” page.

Flak didn’t just come from the right. Glenn Greenwald – a journalist in the Snowden NSA revelations and not a champion of conservative values – spoke up on Twitter: “Aside from fueling right-wing persecution, this is a key reminder of the dangers of Silicon Valley controlling content.” Facebook rejected the allegations, vowing it’s neutral. You just can’t help but wonder if it’s being two-faced.

 

One person was killed and three injured this morning when a man stabbed passengers randomly at a train station. It didn’t happen in Jerusalem, but in Grafing, near Munich. According to bystanders, the man shouted “Allahu akbar” before fleeing, only to be later nabbed by police. According to Bavarian broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk, the young man who was arrested is a German citizen.

Bavaria has been a center of political pushback against Angela Merkel’s open-arms refugee policy and a frontline in the country’s migrant influx. In addition to grief, there’s another sentiment coursing through the state this morning: unease.

 

“The strongest and most effective force in guaranteeing the long-term maintenance of power is not violence in all the forms deployed by the dominant to control the dominated, but consent in all the forms in which the dominated acquiesce in their own domination.”

Robert Frost, American poet

More trouble down south: Austria’s top Social Democrat and chancellor, Werner Faymann, stepped down yesterday after losing a fight to box in the right-wing Freedom Party. The rise of the far-right and the decline of the old moderate political order in the Alpine Republic tipped the scales.

Robert Frost put it best: “The strongest and most effective force in guaranteeing the long-term maintenance of power is not violence in all the forms deployed by the dominant to control the dominated, but consent in all the forms in which the dominated acquiesce in their own domination.”

 

VW’s 20-person supervisory board meets today in Wolfsburg to prepare for the June 22 shareholders’ meeting. For weeks now, the board’s union officials, the premier of the state of Lower Saxony, the shareholder families Porsche and Piëch and representatives from Qatar have been waging a trench war over future strategy and how to explain multi-million-euro executive bonuses in light of the Dieselgate fiasco.

Supervisory board chief Pötsch insists everyone’s pulling on the same rope. What he’s not saying: They’re all pulling in different directions.

 

Supervisory board chief Pötsch insists everyone’s pulling on the same rope. What he’s not saying: They’re all pulling in different directions.

The capital market is home to investors, analysts and a kind of market player who is both at the same time. These “super analysts” serve no purpose other than to drive up their own warrant prices. Unsuspecting companies are up- or downgraded seemingly at whim, for reasons that have nothing to do with corporate fundamentals.

There’s only one thing these unscrupulous arbiters of value really fear, and that’s when someone lifts up the slab and shines a light on how they do their work, or actually how they don’t. Let’s hope our story today shines some light on a dark part of the capitalist machine.

 

The IMF is calling for Greek debt relief. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has been against that kind of a step from the get-go. But in the run-up to yesterday’s euro-zone finance ministers meeting, you didn’t hear an explicit “no” from him.

This evening at our Handelsblatt Deutschland Dinner in Berlin I’ll talk to Schäuble about whether he really plans to sink additional billions into the black hole that is the Greek economy. I’d love to include your questions in our conversation as well. Just send an e-mail to: steingart@morningbriefing.de.

 

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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