BERLIN (Own report) – In view of the growing rivalry with China, business officials and foreign policy makers in Germany are warning against the performance of EU critical forces in the European elections in May. “Alone, no individual European country” could “play a major role” in the global competition, says Eric Schweitzer, President of the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK). German companies need the EU’s single market, the “core of Europe,” as an economic foundation, to assert themselves on a global level against companies from the People’s Republic of China and the USA. Should EU critical “populists” – regardless of their political orientation – obtain more influence in the European Parliament, “the future of the German economy” would also be at risk, according to DIHK Chief Executive Martin Wansleben. Dieter Kempf, President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) is pleading for business representatives to commit themselves “audibly in favor of an open Europe.” At the same time, German businesses are openly demanding that their interests be imposed within the EU – a main reason for the growth of influence of “populists” in other EU member countries.
BERLIN/TEHRAN (Own report) – New US sanctions against Iran have come into effect, without the slightest sign of success for the opposition to the US Middle East policy that had been so loudly proclaimed by Berlin and the EU. Berlin had affirmed, it would do everything in its power to secure for EU companies – particularly German – business deals with Iran, thereby safeguard the nuclear agreement while strengthening the standing of German/EU industry in Iran. The latter has completely failed. German business representatives are warning of the “danger” that German business with Iran “could come to a complete halt.” If this development continues, China – which during the first round of sanctions, had already become Iran’s main trading partner – could further enhance its position in Iran, particularly due to continued oil purchases from Tehran. Contrary to its announcement, the Trump administration did not succeed in entirely cutting off Iranian oil exports. Today, Iran is selling more oil than during the previous round of sanctions.
PYONGYANG/BERLIN (Own report) – Taking advantage of North Korea’s strategic reorientation, Germany’s FDP-affiliated Friedrich Naumann Foundation is resuming its activities in that country. Recently, the North Korean leadership officially ended its policy of a balanced build up of its military and the economy, to prioritize the country’s economy, a move, experts note, President Kim Jong Un had been seeking to make for years. However, he initially prioritized the development of the nuclear deterrence capability, to safeguard against a possible US attack. He is now seeking to have UN sanctions lifted, to allow foreign companies into the country. Important steps have already been made. Possibly the Naumann Foundation – which had established contacts to Pyongyang already in 2002 and in 2004 organized a workshop on the country’s “economic modernization” – also played a role. Its activities should now intensify. German companies, according to reports, are “lying in wait”.
BERLIN (Own report) – With intense shuttle diplomacy, members of the German government are seeking to avert the impending US punitive tariffs on European goods and the loss of access to the important US market. Following Germany’s Finance Minster Olaf Scholz’s visit to the US capital yesterday, Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected in Washington on Friday. Already in the run up to these visits, Berlin seems ready to envisage a revival of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This strategic decision is accompanied by a clear frontline position against China, as was resolutely demanded by the Trump administration. In addition, German-Russian business relations are increasingly under attack in Washington. At the same time, EU criticism of Germany’s unilateral trade policies is growing. Germany’s export oriented economy is particularly vulnerable to the protectionism that is gaining strength on a global scale. Berlin’s Beggar-thy-Neighbor-Policy could prove a strategic disadvantage under these new global economic conditions. Continue reading
BERLIN/LONDON (Own report) – Initial outlines of Berlin’s possible reaction to Britain’s EU exit (“Brexit”) are beginning to seep out to the public. According to a report, government circles, who themselves see no reason to fear the turbulences of the financial markets, are hoping that these will persuade a sufficient number of the British to vote in favor of “remaining.” If this does not work, and the British opt for the Brexit, drastic measures should not be excluded. To avoid negative effects on the German economy, some members of the administration are pleading in favor of granting the UK an EU-associate status, similar to that of Norway. However, “a front should be established” to prevent other EU members from following suit and converting to an associate status. The transition to a “core Europe” remains an option and a discussion of it could be initiated at the end of this week. The foreign ministers of the six EU founding countries have planned an exclusive meeting to discuss the consequences of the British referendum.
And Germany will do it. When push comes to shove, it has historically sided with Russia and other axis powers. China should be no exception. In a time when America is suiciding itself off the world stage, it’s a matter of survival for its allies as they seek more stable and consistent alliances.