News Bites

Environment Minister Svenja Schulze will convene a meeting with representatives of energy-intensive business sectors in early July to discuss a new plan for curbing CO2 emissions. Germany has admitted it will miss its CO2 goals for 2020.

Hans-Eckhard Sommer, an official from Bavaria’s interior ministry, will reportedly take over as head of Germany’s refugee agency BAMF. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer fired BAMF’s current head Jutta Cordt on Friday over an ongoing asylum scandal.

Bavaria’s CSU is likely to give Angela Merkel more time to reach a European solution to the refugee crisis, the CSU’s deputy party head said, temporarily setting aside a crisis that had threatened to topple the German chancellor.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer reportedly told CSU party officials that “I can no longer work with that woman” in reference to Angela Merkel, as a standoff over asylum policy continued. (Welt am Sonntag)

If elections were held today, Germany’s “grand coalition” would fail to get a majority. Christian Democrats would win 30 percent and the Social Democrats 16 percent, according to a Forsa poll.

Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly admitted for the first time that Germany is unlikely to meet its NATO commitment to raise annual defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2025, hitting 1.5% in 2024 instead.

German political parties will get an additional €25 million per year in campaign financing, bringing the total to €190 million. The funding was approved by the governing coalition over objections from opposition parties, which are considering a court challenge.

Police conducted raids of numerous apartments in a Cologne housing complex where a Tunisian man was arrested Thursday for producing ricin. Authorities suspect the poison was “very likely” being produced for a planned terrorist attack.

The German parliament has passed legislation that will once again allow asylum seekers to apply for their families to come to Germany, though the total number of permits granted will be capped at 1,000 per month.

A tweet, posted under a fake account by satirical news site Titanic, duped numerous media into reporting that Germany’s conservative coalition had been dissolved. The DAX even plunged 0.4% before the news bulletins were corrected.

Though inequality is lower, Germany struggles more with social mobility than other developed countries like the United States, according to the OECD. Just 9% of children from low-income families will earn a high salary, compared to 50% of children from wealthy families.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, seen as a potential successor to Angela Merkel, has lobbied CDU party members to back the embattled chancellor’s refugee policy amid a serious standoff within the conservative movement. (Bild Zeitung)

Representatives of EU countries have unanimously approved the European Commission’s list of US imports worth €2.8 billion for retaliatory tariffs. The commission could sign off on it next week.

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Currency birthday

Remembering the D-Mark, the talisman of Germany’s economic miracle

Seventy years ago, the deutsche mark was launched as West Germany's currency and became the symbol of a thriving "social market economy." Four economists give views on how to preserve that prosperity.

Time Presses

Whispers of delaying break with EU circulate as Brexit deadline looms

The EU would be willing to extend the March 2019 deadline, because no one is willing to jeopardize the peace in Northern Ireland, sources in Brussels say.

News gallery

In case you missed it

The NSU's seventh victim, diplomat Boris Becker, expanding train ridership and the department known as "L".

Asylum meltdown

‘Axis’ against Merkel

In a dangerous swipe at Chancellor Angela Merkel, her own interior minister is siding with the Austrian and Italian governments to forge a right-wing “axis of the willing” to curb immigration. Conservative lawmakers threaten with a vote on refugee policy in the Bundestag.

More EU, less Trump

Germany’s economics minister to US: No more Mister Nice Guy

This week, coming after the disastrous G7 summit and the threat of US tariffs on German cars, there’s been a change of tone at the highest levels in Berlin. It's a change that will bring the EU closer together.

CSU hissy fit

Merkel facing revolt as conservatives demand asylum clampdown

The chancellor is growing isolated as her party colleagues join her hawkish Bavarian allies in calling for tighter migration policies. If she fails to assert her authority, her days as chancellor could be numbered.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

Much about Germany is confusing or surprising to foreigners - and even to Germans. Our editors provide clarity.

News gallery

In case you missed it

Angela Merkel's rebel, Trump and the WTO, euro-zone buddies and the $6-billion soccer World Cup.

Avoiding Complacency

Don’t rest on your laurels, OECD warns Germany

Germany's economy is purring along but its new government in Berlin isn't investing enough in the digital future, the intergovernmental organization warned.

world cup, turkey, saudi arabia

Loyalty Shot

Plenty of politics accompany German team to World Cup

A controversial photo shoot of two German players of Turkish descent with Turkey’s president has roiled fans and angered politicians ahead of the World Cup. The incident has also dampened team spirit.

Rocket Men Meet

Germany skeptical about the US-North Korea deal

The historic meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un was met with a bit of praise, but mostly doubts in Berlin.

'Migration master plan'

Merkel’s cabinet split as refugee row deepens

Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Bavarian frenemies in the CSU party are at war again over immigration. Their simmering dispute has escalated with Ms. Merkel’s refusal to endorse her interior minister’s migration master plan.

News gallery

In case you missed it

A dip in the booth, a World Cup jersey for deep-pocketed fans, an orbital soccer fan and a nein to autonomous weapons.

US Germany trade war

Atlantic Rift

Germany bids farewell to the post-war order

With a US-German trade war more likely by the week, Berlin is reluctantly drawing up a new strategy to deal with Washington, a radical break with 70 years of foreign policy.

Save abroad

American students dodge debt at German universities

More young Americans are pursuing a degree in Germany to save money - courtesy of German taxpayers. The government says the investment in foreign students pays off.

handelsblatt explains

German political parties

Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats have started coalition talks with the Free Democrats and The Greens to form a new government. What do these parties stand for?

Iraqi refugee murder suspect, germany, susanna f. ali bashar

Asylum denied

Questions over how murder suspect was able to flee Germany

An Iraqi refugee under investigation for armed robbery is suspected of raping and murdering a 14-year-old girl. He and his family left the country June 2 with no resistance from border officers but has been arrested in Iraq.

Scaling the summit

Merkel hopes to muddle through ‘contentious’ G7 summit

The German chancellor wants the lines of communication to remain open, but the fact that President Trump considered not attending suggests the annual G7 ritual may have outlived its usefulness.

Germans and hogs

How pigs rooted their way into the German language

Germans have long had an unusually intense relationship with pigs, which shows up in peculiar phrases in everyday conversations, often harkening back to the Middle Ages in ways good and bad.

Machine learning

Grand plan for Franco-German AI research taking shape

Germany plans to play catch-up with China and the US by forging an alliance with France to research artificial intelligence. Angela Merkel’s party wants the cross-border project to be on the scale of Airbus.

Voters abroad

Turks in Germany head to polls ahead of Turkey’s snap elections

Germany’s Turkish community can now cast their vote in an election that decides whether Recep Erdogan will win a second term as — a more powerful — president. It could further complicate relations with Germany.

tit for tat

As EU plans retaliatory tariffs on US, Germany fears the fallout

The Americans face isolation at this week's G7 summit as allies reject Trump’s punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Hacker Soldiers

Germany could dispatch armed forces in response to cyberattacks

The German government could use its armed forces in response to a cyberattack triggered by another country. That’s tough talk from a country notoriously shy about joining foreign military missions.

Frenemies

Putin visits Austria to exploit rifts in Europe

Austria's government tilts pro-Russia and vows to work on ending sanctions during the country's EU presidency. Italy's new leaders want to do the same.

Close and Cozy

Putin visits his best buddy in the EU: Austria’s Sebastian Kurz

Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz has friends in high places, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he will host in Vienna today.

Religious War

Netanyahu shifts emphasis in Merkel meeting to Iranian aggression

The issue that should worry Germany is Iran’s meddling in Syria and other hot spots, which will unleash a new flood of refugees into Europe. The nuclear accord is “secondary,” the Israeli prime minister said in Berlin.

Grenell goes rogue

Trump ambassador slammed as ‘regime change envoy’ by angry Germans

Donald Trump’s envoy to Germany blurred the lines between politics and diplomacy by saying he hopes to “empower” conservatives across Europe. For Germans it smacked of advocating regime change. But is it really that surprising?

German Eurofudge

Merkel reaches out to Macron on EU reforms

In her first detailed response to Emmanuel Macron’s euro-zone ideas, the German chancellor blends caution and compromise: Yay to a Euro-IMF and deeper common defense, nay to Italian debt relief.

Demographic Armageddon

Aging population on course to wipe out Germany’s finances within 30 years

Germany’s current pensions system is unsustainable as millions are due to retire while the population shrinks. In the absence of reform, its public debt could dwarf Greece’s in a few decades, a study has found.

Trade War Gets Serious

Germany fears protectionist spiral as US follows through with steel tariffs

New tariffs imposed by the United States have been condemned by German business and political leaders, who say a trade war will damage economic growth and prosperity.

North Rhine-Westphalia

Artist Gerhard Richter donates paintings to build houses for the homeless

One of Germany's best-known painters will sell 18 works to help house people who live on the street.

Russian collusion

Russia trip exposes AfD ties to Moscow

Germany’s far-right AfD party, long accused of being bank-rolled by Moscow, is facing a parliamentary inquiry over Russian funding of a €25,000 flight three of its members took last year.

Integration Win

German firms are hungry for workers, refugees are feeding the appetite

More refugees are getting jobs in Germany, new figures show. But industry leaders still want the government to provide additional help.

‘ugly german’

Italy’s populists blame Germany for thwarted effort to form government

With new elections now likely, the euro and German dominance will become campaign issues while many fear a surge in anti-EU sentiment in Italy.

Arabian spite

Saudi Arabia freezes out German companies

German relations with Saudi Arabia have been frosty for months, partly due to unfortunate comments made by a former foreign minister. Now Riyadh seems to have instituted a semi-official boycott of German companies.

Not my mutti

Germany’s imperial Reichsbürger spell trouble on the extreme right

Little known outside Germany, the Reichsbürger (“Citizens of the Reich”) are on the rise, and they are angrier and more armed than ever.

CHINESE CHECKERS

Germany may block tech takeover amid security and trade concerns

After a wave of Chinese purchases of German technology firms, Berlin is considering blocking a new acquisition. Primarily worried about security, officials are also frustrated by China's tightly-controlled domestic markets.

Legal eagles

Could the EU really break up Facebook’s monopoly?

This week several EU politicians suggested Facebook be broken up. The Zuck should worry, as Europe has a history of taming tech giants.

Naughty, naughty

EU scolds Germany (again) for low investment, high taxes, and more

Brussels takes Berlin to task for deficiencies in economic and fiscal policy, but the critique is likely to fall on deaf ears as it has in the past.