German vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel is Europe’s most talented undertaker. He can bury political discussions that aren’t even dead yet.
“The negotiations with the U.S. have de-facto failed,” Mr. Gabriel said in late August, as U.S. and E.U. negotiators were preparing for the 15th round of talks in October to try to hash out an agreement over the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). “Things are not moving on that front.”
Mr. Gabriel has just returned from the summer break. He is no longer just Germany’s economics minister. He’s the leader of the center-left Social Democrats and a candidate for chancellor. Mr. Gabriel senses no prizes are to be won in Germany with TTIP. So he hauls out his shovel and personally digs a grave for the world’s largest free-trade zone.