EU will make sure Brexit deal is NEGATIVE for Britain – ex-German envoy’s shock admission

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Thomas Matussek said Britain would not gain from leaving the European Union [GETTY•DW NEWS]

A GERMAN diplomat lambasted ‘hard’ Brexiteers who think Britain can gain from leaving the European Union, saying Brussels will make sure the move is negative.

Thomas Matussek, former German Ambassador to the UK, said the Brexit divorce bill would be “considerable” and transitional period “long”.

Speaking on the Today programme, on BBC Radio 4, Mr Matussek said any positives for the UK on leaving the bloc would “encourage other” member states rot follow Britain out. Continue reading

A Matter of National Interest

BERLIN (Own report) – In light of the drastic warnings of the EU’s possible disintegration, Berlin seeks to prevent the formation of contending forces. “The European Union is drifting apart to an extent hardly imaginable 15 years ago,” according to a recent analysis, written by a board member of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). The “dividing lines” between the north and the impoverishing south, as well as between western and eastern EU member countries are disquieting. To prevent the formation of a southern European bloc opposing the German austerity dictate, Berlin is particularly trying to integrate France into its EU policy. Yesterday, the German chancellor sought closer cooperation with the Czech Republic and Slovakia, to undermine an alliance of the Visegrád members against German predominance. At the same time, promotion of the EU has been intensified within Germany. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel explained how Germany ultimately profits from its net contributions to the EU budget: The success of German exports depends on “the people in the other EU countries” being able “to afford” German products – with the help of Brussels’ subsidies. Continue reading

China overtakes US and France to become Germany’s most important trading partner

China became Germany’s most important trading partner as imports and exports rose to €170 billion (GETTY)

 

CHINA for the first time became Germany’s most important trading partner in 2016, overtaking the US and France.

German imports from and exports to China rose to €170 billion (£143billion) last year, Federal Statistics Office figures reviewed by Reuters showed.

The development is good news for the German government, which has made it a goal to safeguard global free trade after US President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on imports and his top adviser on trade accused Germany of exploiting a weak euro to boost exports. Continue reading

Reversal of Trend in Business with Russia

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) – German business circles are discerning a clear reversal of trend in business with Russia, despite the EU’s alleged prolongation of sanctions against Moscow. In the third quarter of 2016, German exports to Russia have increased for the first time since sanctions were imposed. German investments in Russia are again growing already reaching a volume of two billion Euros this year. The Daimler Group, for example, is currently planning to construct a plant worth 300 million Euros near Moscow. The gradual growth in business relations is flanked by negotiations at the state secretary level, with the preliminary groundwork being laid by leading think tanks. However, that President-elect Donald Trump, who, together with his designated Foreign Minister, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, intends to change course and cooperate more closely with Russia, at least on a punctual basis, is not seen very favorably from the German perspective. It would undermine the traditional division of labor among western countries in relationship to Russia that had been to Germany’s advantage. While Washington was usually exerting massive pressure on Moscow, Berlin could often assume an advantageous mediator role – with a consensus on exerting pressure on Moscow to submit to western policy, while enhancing its own business relations. Continue reading

Europe on the brink of financial MELTDOWN as Germany faces economic ruin

THE European financial powerhouse could be facing a huge financial crisis which would have devastating implications for Britain as a lethal storm of economic problems brews in Germany.

Germany’s industrial production has slipped to ZERO per cent and customer confidence has plummeted in just part of a catalogue of disasters for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A fall in Germany’s prosperity could drag the eurozone down with it – a scenario becoming more likely amid growing signs of the country’s slowdown.

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Global Recession Coming – Even “Powerhouse” Germany and UK Slow “Dramatically”

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IMF 2015 Global National Debt Map – IMF

 

– IMF warn of “fresh financial crisis”
– German exports fall 5.2%, largest slump since recession of 2009
– German imports also fall 3.1%
– Many sectors across German economy see unexpected declines in factory orders and industrial production
– UK Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) report sharp rise in uncertainty
– UK PMI has fallen to lowest level since April 2013
– Hope for the best but be prepared for less benign scenarios

The IMF have been growing more vocal in recent weeks about the possibility of another financial crisis and severe recession. The head of financial stability at the IMF, José Viñals has said that this outlook “does not rely on extreme assumptions at all”. Continue reading

Tumbling euro not enough to save Germany’s factories

German industrial production data has failed to match the expectations of analysts, as the country faces lower growth next year

Germany’s factories posted a meagre rise in output this November, as the slumping euro failed to lift exports.

As the value of the currency has depreciated, Germany’s exports have become relatively cheaper, yet hopes of a corresponding jump in manufacturing have yet to be realised.

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Powerful Ally

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – Demands for a stronger orientation on a global cooperation with the United States are being raised in Germany’s foreign policy establishment. In face of growing global insecurity, it would be very useful to have a powerful ally, according to a programmatic article by an editor of “Die Zeit” published in Germany’s leading foreign policy journal. France could not replace a collaboration with the US, because it is too “state-led” and its “leadership is solely a network of relationships.” Berlin, however, could “assume more self-confidence” in its cooperation with Washington, because Germany has become “a minor superpower.” The fact that the Unites States is increasingly becoming a motor for the German export industry has a positive effect on plans for cooperation: German exports to the USA rose by one-third between 2010 and 2013. Observers expect an even more important increase, at a time, when German exports to central countries of the Euro zone and to Russia – once Germany’s export oriented companies’ great hope – are in a slump. New business opportunities with the USA are fueling political cooperation.

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The Scramble for Africa

BERLIN(Own report) – German businesses are demanding that the government intensify its support for tapping the “continent of opportunity, Africa” in competition with China and other BRICS countries. Parallel to the West’s waning global influence, German businesses are loosing ground on the African continent. This is why German enterprises are pushing for increasing Hermes trade credit insurances, double taxation treaties, and generally “stronger political support for the German industry in Africa.” A building industry federation is explicitly demanding that future allocations of development funds be tied to orders for German/European firms. The German government has indicated its readiness to implement these policies. The KfW Development Bank and other public-sector banks are already seeking ways to support the German industry’s expansion efforts by expanding credit transactions. Continue reading

Hartz IV for Everyone

BERLIN/BRUSSELS/WASHINGTON (Own report) – New records in German foreign trade are provoking massive international criticism of Berlin’s concentration on exports. According to reports, the German economy has achieved a foreign trade surplus of 20.4 billion Euros in September – a new record. It is estimated that for 2013, German companies’ exports will exceed by around 200 billion Euros the amount imported. That is the world’s highest national import-export gap. Protests are growing because many of the customer countries for German products thereby are driven into debt, as was the case in the crisis countries of the southern Euro zone. Other than the EU Commission threatening Berlin with an official reprimand, the US Secretary of Finances is accusing the German government of threatening the stability of the global economy. The IMF is also emphatically insisting that Germany rein in its export offensive. It is based on the low-wage policy, initiated by the SPD-Green government coalition – and continued by the CDU-SPD grand coalition – which provides a decisive competitive advantage to German industry. During those administrations, Germany was the sole EU nation with decreasing real wages. Continue reading