News Bites

Germany has halted arms exports to Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudia Arabia because of their role in the war against Yemen, government spokesman Sfeffen Seibert tweeted.

The eastern German city of Cottbus will temporarily accept no refugees following a series of violent crimes allegedly committed by Syrian refugees, the interior minister of the state of Brandenburg said. (RBB)

A new German law requiring social media sites to remove possibly illegal hate speech should not be copied across Europe and goes too far, European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said. (Der Spiegel)

Martin Schulz, head of the center-left SPD, warned that new elections would be called “quickly” if a party vote on Sunday goes against a coalition government with Chancellor Merkel’s conservative bloc.

A Munich court sentenced Philipp K. to seven years in prison for selling a pistol that was used in a right-wing attack at a Munich shopping mall that left nine people dead in 2016.

Last year German defense expenditures equalled 1.13% of the country’s GDP, well-below the 2%-of-GDP guideline set by NATO, according to the BDI industry association.

The far-right AfD party walked out of the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, in protest late Thursday after their candidate wasn’t elected to an intelligence agency oversight board. The session was then cancelled for lack of a quorum.

Storm Friederike, which reached hurricane-force winds, killed 8 people in Germany on Thursday and Friday. Long-distance trains in southern Germany were running again but many routes in Lower Saxony and North-Rhine Westphalia remain closed.

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) introduced its first bill into parliament, seeking to block some refugees from bringing close relatives out of war-torn countries to join them. (Deutsche Welle)

Germany and France plan to introduce a joint Bitcoin regulation proposal at the G20 summit in March. (Reuters)

Germany’s outgoing foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel plans to visit Israel at the end of January. He’s hoping it goes better than last time. (DPA)

Potsdam prosecutors accused several doctors of defrauding a local hospital and stealing as much as €3.8 million by colluding with pharmacists to double-bill for an expensive medication. (Die Welt)

Military money

New German government set to miss NATO defense spending target

It's a long shot for Germany to reach NATO’s defense-spending goal of 2 percent of GDP by 2024. Ironically, the country's booming economy is making that target even tougher to hit.

medical marijuana industry in germany

Joint ventures

Why Germans love marijuana to kill pain

This isn’t Cheech and Chong’s weed — Germany’s medical marijuana users are people tired of popping powerful pills to ease pain. Facing a cannabis import crisis, the country is now starting to grow its own.

Never-ending fight

Germany’s bureaucratic answer to rising anti-Semitism

The Bundestag is appointing a commissioner to fight anti-Semitism as hate crimes surge. Some doubt this will make Jews feel safe again in Germany.

News gallery

In case you missed it

The far-right takes revenge, extremists pay the ultimate price and everyone else goes green.

Youth Meets Experience

Austria’s 31-year old chancellor meets the leader of the free world

Sebastian Kurz is in Berlin to convince Angela Merkel that he’s pro-European. But the German leader also needs Austria's rising star, who has the ear of Eastern Europe’s populists.

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?

Even Richer

Tax cuts fuel German inequality

An untimely report reveals that Germany's wealthiest 10 percent are getting richer at the expense of the less well off. Researchers say lower taxes are to blame, and reform is needed to tackle the imbalance.

Higher education

For Germany’s students, life is expensive

Even though universities don't charge tuition fees, degrees in Germany are far from free. As living and rental costs soar and less financial aid is available, many are strapped for cash.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

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

EU Strategy

Clearing Europe’s beaches of plastic trash

Among the proposals for reducing trash are a new tax on plastics and ramped up efforts to incentivize recycling.

Foreign Investment

America first, with Germany’s help

Donald Trump wants more companies — foreign and domestic — to produce goods in the United States. We spoke to German companies already in the US about whether they’ll take the bait.

Mending Fences

New Eurogroup chief sees positive signals from Germany

As of this week, Portugal's Mário Centeno chairs the euro zone’s steering committee of finance ministers. He spoke to Handelsblatt about why Germany needs to get its act together and form a government.

Data Protection

German politicians slam US data grab in Microsoft feud

US authorities are demanding access to information held by American companies, like Microsoft, from anywhere in the world. German politicians and businesses are condemning the move.

grand coalition

Germany’s far right poised to gain new prominence as opposition leader

The extremist Alternative for Germany will have a new platform to extend its appeal to voters.

The Resistance

The young German socialist who would ruin Angela Merkel’s plans

The first round of coalition negotiations to form a new German government was a success. But the next round might be wrecked by young, left-wing upstarts.

Fixing figures

How Germany’s job agencies are gaming the system

Germany is often praised for its low unemployment rate. But job agency insiders say staff are prospering from pushing the long-term unemployed into vocational courses, removing them from jobless statistics.

spd and cdu agree to official coalition talks, merkel smiles

Coalition talks

Merkel, SPD agree to negotiate a new government

Angela Merkel cleared a first hurdle to forming a new government after reaching an agreement with the Social Democrats to begin formal coalition talks, but next up is convincing the SPD's rank and file.

nuclear accord

Europe appeals to Trump to uphold Iran nuclear deal

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel says that there is no indication Iran has not kept to its side of the bargain.

eastwards easing?

Germany’s foreign minister suggests lifting sanctions on Russia

Sigmar Gabriel proposed a friendlier stance towards Moscow in exchange for a ceasefire in Ukraine. Despite this, relations between the two countries remain tense.

german court system understaffed, judiciary

Disorder in the court

Berlin siphons off judges from states as shortages plague courts

Germany’s coffers are full, but its judiciary is understaffed. Federal courts have taken to plundering state ranks, but it doesn't solve the bigger problem.

coalition talks

Angela Merkel seen leaving her term early

Never-ending negotiations, and the chancellor's style of leadership, are weighing on German voters looking for renewal.

federal budget

Government surplus could lead to tax cuts

Politicians discussing the country's next government have won billions in wiggle room for tax cuts and increased spending. But German tax cuts will be tiny by American standards.

Trump Marketing

“Fire and Fury” rains money on German owner of Henry Holt

Joy at the reception of Michael Wolff’s doozy on the American president extends all the way to Stuttgart.

European position

Macron warns China over Silk Road project

The French president chides Beijing about trying to strike side deals with weak European countries.

Corrupt populists

The Trump of Europe who rules in Prague

Billionaire businessman Andrej Babiš won the Czech Republic's elections last year and he plans to 'drain the swamp'. But corruption charges and a no-confidence vote may still thwart his plans.

Asylum effects

Study blames migrants for increased violence, calls for integration

A study linking an increase in violent crime in Germany to refugees bolsters hardline conservatives’ anti-immigration stance and could affect coalition talks.

The Fundamentals

Why German wage hikes could please Trump

Thanks to a booming economy, German workers are pushing for big pay rises. If granted, they could affect everything from corporate profits to the trade surplus and monetary policy – and delight the US president.

GOVERNMENT APPOINTMENTS

Lack of government leaves positions in flux

When Germany’s politicians finally get around to forming a new government, there will be plenty of top jobs to fill in Germany’s massive state sector.

Francis Fukuyama

Mini-Trumps are coming up all over Europe

Populists and autocrats were victorious around the world in 2017. For answers we turned to the American political economist Francis Fukuyama, who once thought it was all over.

E-Government

Berlin wants to ease bureaucracy by eliminating paper

Germany's government is lagging behind when it comes to going digital, but policymakers have long been laying the foundation needed to switch from paper to gigabytes.

Censorship Claim

Twitter and Facebook block German politician’s posts

Storm erupts after far-right AfD politician's posts are censored under new law combating hate speech on social media.