Secession as a Point of Leverage (II)

LONDON/BERLIN (Own report) – Scotland has established an investment center in Berlin, thereby reinforcing its economic ties to the EU and causing – with German support – new tension in Great Britain. According to critics, in its intended secession from the United Kingdom, for which it must establish economic security, the Scottish government is relying on German help. In fact, to increase the pressure on London to achieve the “softest” Brexit possible, Berlin and Germany’s regional governments are going out of their way to strengthen relations with Edinburgh. This is considered essential to German interests. Government advisors in Berlin are recommending using Ireland for obtaining influence in the negotiations concerning the borders between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. In the event of a “hard” Brexit, this border would be a particularly sensitive point. Berlin is also using EU foreigners, residing in the United Kingdom, as an additional bargaining chip. Chancellor Angela Merkel has refused to have their rights of residence clarified beforehand. Continue reading

Torchbearer of the West

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – In the run-up to the Munich Security Conference this weekend, leading German foreign policy experts are calling on the EU to reposition itself on the world stage, replacing the United States as the West’s “torchbearer.” Since Washington’s change of government, the United States no longer “qualifies as the symbol of the West’s political and moral leadership,” according to Wolfgang Ischinger, Chair of the Munich Security Conference. It is therefore up to Europe “to make up for this loss.” Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold a programmatic speech at this weekend’s conference, focusing on the future relationship between the EU and the USA. In anticipation of the looming power struggle, in the German capital, the EU is already being warned not to allow itself to be torn apart by outside rivals. Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth cautioned against “special deals” being made between individual EU countries and the new Trump administration. If there is sufficient coherence necessitating, for example, majority decisions in foreign policy, “we Europeans” could become an “impressive political and military power,” Ischinger cajoled. Continue reading

The Foam of German Diplomacy

THESSALONIKI/BERLIN/FLORENCE (Own report) – When the German foreign minister appeared in the synagogue in Thessaloniki (Greece), he was met with strong protest from prominent members of the Jewish community. In his speech at the synagogue on December 4, (published by the German Foreign Ministry) Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) praised “our German hands to be used in the life of your community” – after Jewish life was eradicated under the Nazis. In his historical reflections, the German foreign minister alluded to the more than 50,000 Jewish Greeks, who, in 1943, had been forced to buy “Reichsbahn” tickets to Auschwitz, where they were murdered upon arrival. He did not utter a single word about the German receipts (89 million Euros) from those trips taking them to their death, or about Berlin’s refusal to pay its debts. Neither did Steinmeier mention the reimbursement of the several million Euros in racist “ransoms” as the Jewish community demands. Prominent Jewish Greeks were outraged because Berlin’s foreign policy is obviously undermining the legal claims of Nazi victims with moralist avowals and non-committal monetary hand-outs. Protests were also raised against Steinmeier’s being offered “honorary membership” in Thessaloniki’s synagogue. Steinmeier made similar appearances in relationship to Italian victims of Nazi mass crimes. Continue reading