Business and Economics
Strong Dollar Drives Wedge Between U.S. and Europe (Die Welt): The strong dollar and sinking prices for raw materials are exacerbating the rift between the growing U.S. economy and the struggling euro zone. The central banks are only a part of the solution.
BMW C.E.O. Norbert Reithofer to Step Down Earlier Than Expected (NYT): BMW said on Tuesday that Norbert Reithofer would step down in May as chief executive of the German luxury carmaker a year earlier than expected, and that he would be replaced by Harald Krüger, the head of production.
Investment package by the EU: Berlin contributes € 89 billion (Spiegel): For EU standards, Commission chief Juncker’s stimulus package is developing unforeseen dynamism. Many governments, including the Germans, have already sent proposals to Brussels. Meanwhile, the opposition feels taken aback.
U.S. Accuses Deutsche Bank of Skirting Millions in Back Taxes (NYT): Tax disputes can be complicated, drawn-out battles, but a government lawsuit against Deutsche Bank looks to be particularly messy. Federal prosecutors on Monday sued Deutsche Bank for about $190 million in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest.
Foreign and Domestic Policy
Merkel Reelected by 96.7 Percent Majority (FAZ): Angela Merkel has been overwhelmingly reelected as Chairwoman of the CDU. In her speech at the party convention, she threatened Russia with further sanctions. Her coalition partner SPD got an earful of criticism.
Party Backs Off German-Only as a Suggestion for Immigrants (NYT): A proposal by one of Germany’s governing parties urging immigrants to speak German, even at home, was greeted with ridicule over the weekend — prompting party leaders, by Monday, to back away from the idea.
Government Shirking Decision on Coal Power (Die Welt): On Wednesday the government introduced its program “Climate Protection 2020.” It details how green house gas emissions are to be curbed. But shutting down the older coal plants is off the table.
Society, Culture & Politics
What is Germans’ problem with refugees? (Die Welt): Germany attracts refugees and immigrants. The economy is glad about potential skilled labor, the government is reforming rigid asylum policy. But among the people, xenophobia is on the rise.
Integration: The German Bubble (Zeit): The government’s Integration Summits give the impression that the “how” of integration is the only issue. A delusion. Startlingly many basic questions are still open.
Politicians Worry Over Anti-Islam-Movement (FAZ): The protests of thousands in Dresden show the “Pegida” movement against “the “Islamization of the Western World” is gaining traction. Among the ministers of the interior, the concern about xenophobic hate crime is therefore rising.
The Russian Challenge: Beyond the Double Track: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s speech in Brisbane following the G20 meeting made headlines for two main reasons: publicly confronting Putin in the toughest manner to date, and signaling the need for all of Europe to stand with her against Russian aggression. The top European political leader, who has spent the most time with Vladimir Putin, was clearly fed up.
Transatlantic Cooperation on China: More than an Ocean Between: Transatlantic cooperation on East Asia is characterized by benign neglect, at best. It’s been two years since then U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and then EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton issued a joint U.S.-EU statement on Asia-Pacific, and cooperation on the region seems to be even more remote today.