WASHINGTON: U.S. legislation renewing and tightening sanctions on Russia, stalled in the House of Representatives, was not passed before the U.S. and Russian presidents met at the G20 summit in Hamburg. The proposed bill had already received criticism not only from Russia but also from Germany and Austria about the impact sanctions may have on Europe’s gas supply.
Europe and the United States need not worry: Energy markets have undergone significant transformation in favor of importers, and Russia’s tough talk warning against sanctions is little more than posturing. Russia needs Europe as a market for its oil and gas. Continue reading
Escalation of the diplomatic row between Berlin and Ankara ended in a clear message. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned German citizens that they risk arrest if they travel to Turkey.
Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Germany had revised its travel advice in the wake of the recent arrests of several human rights activists, including German national Peter Steudtner. Continue reading
The “worst crisis between Germany and Turkey since World War II” just took another turn worse, after German media reported that in the latest escalation to date between Berlin and Ankara, Chancellor Angela Merkel will freeze present and future Turkish orders of defense goods amid souring diplomatic relations between the two nations, Bild Zeitung said citing unidentified govt officials.
This effective trade embargo comes just hours after Germany’s issued a safety warning to tourists traveling to Turkey and warned investors against doing business there. As discussed this morning, in unusually bold language Germany’s foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel announced a “re-orientation” of German policy towards Turkey, saying Berlin would reconsider the economic aid and export credit guarantees it provides for the country. Continue reading
Many think President Trump is pushing Germany to remilitarize, but he is actually giving in to what Germany demanded decades ago when NATO was founded.
At the nato headquarters in Brussels at the end of May, United States President Donald Trump once again urged European nato members to spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on their military. Meeting President Trump’s demands will make Germany and Europe an independent military superpower within nato. Many in Germany, such as Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, are up in arms about Mr. Trump’s demands.
But other German politicians have been calling for this for decades.
Germany is currently only spending about 1.2 percent of annual gdp on its military. Spending 2 percent would mean spending $80 billion—more than any other European state. This would make Germany a military powerhouse within Europe and nato. Continue reading
Germany and Austria have lashed out against US Senate for approving a legislation tightening sanctions on Russia. The bill has a provision that enables the United States to impose sanctions on European firms involved in financing Russian energy export pipelines to Europe. European companies could be fined for breaching US law. In a joint statement, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern accused the US of threatening European economic interests, describing it as an illegal attempt to boost US gas exports. The United States recently started shipping liquefied natural gas to Poland and has ambitions to cultivate other European customers.
The bill says the US government «should prioritize the export of United States energy resources in order to create American jobs, help United States allies and partners, and strengthen United States foreign policy». But the European foreign chiefs believe that «Europe’s energy supply is Europe’s business, not that of the United States of America». Gabriel and Kern said they «can’t accept» proposed US sanctions targeting European energy companies as part of measures against Russia.
Diplomatic relations between NATO members Germany and Turkey hit rock bottom on Monday when Germany’s foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel said his country has no choice but to begin the process of pulling its forces out of Turkey’s Incirlik air force base as the Turkish government will not allow all German lawmakers to visit troops there.
The scandal erupted last Thursday, when Turkey’s foreign minister said it is not possible to allow German lawmakers to visit troops stationed at Turkey’s Incirlik air base now, although he said Ankara may reconsider if it sees “positive steps” from Berlin. It was not immediately clear just what Turkey’s “demands” or expectations, monetary or otherwise, were from Merkel for it to change its view. Ties between the NATO allies deteriorated sharply in the run-up to Turkey’s April 16 referendum that handed President Tayyip Erdogan stronger presidential powers.
Berlin is using a bland name to obscure a dramatic shift in its approach to defense: integrating brigades from smaller countries into the Bundeswehr.
Every few years, the idea of an EU army finds its way back into the news, causing a kerfuffle. The concept is both fantasy and bogeyman: For every federalist in Brussels who thinks a common defense force is what Europe needs to boost its standing in the world, there are those in London and elsewhere who recoil at the notion of a potential NATO rival.
But this year, far from the headlines, Germany and two of its European allies, the Czech Republic and Romania, quietly took a radical step down a path toward something that looks like an EU army while avoiding the messy politics associated with it: They announced the integration of their armed forces. Continue reading
In a post-American trade war, this emerging bloc will wield devastating power.
Stories of international angst over United States President Donald Trump’s protectionist approach are becoming more commonplace. Mr. Trump’s “buy American, hire American” catchphrase sounds good for many at home, but abroad, it is prompting a weighty reorganization of international trade relationships. And long term, the result will be a trade war that will prove ruinous to the U.S.
World trade has changed a great deal over the last several decades. The international community at large no longer depends on America’s giant import expenditures and exports. Parag Khanna of Politico wrote:
As Americans, it’s easy to assume that global trade still depends on America as the consumer of last resort. But that’s no longer true. In fact, the majority of trade in emerging-market nations is with each other, not with the U.S. In 1990, emerging economies sent 65 percent of their exports to developed nations like the U.S. and Europe, and only 35 percent to other developing countries. Today, that figure is nearly reversed. Continue reading
GERMANY’S foreign minister has warned of the dangers of engaging in a new arms race with Russia, calling on all sides to work together to end the violence in eastern Ukraine.
Sigmar Gabriel has used his first visit to Moscow as foreign minister to underscore his concerns about Russia’s military buildup in the Baltic region and its western borders.
He also expressed concerns about the conflict’s resulting “exorbitant military spending increases”. Continue reading
The US and Germany have criticised Russia over new missile deployments that posed a threat to Nato and Europe.
“The Russians have deployed a land-based cruise missile that violates the spirit and intent of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces [INF] treaty,” Paul Selva, a senior US general who advises the White House, told a House committee in Washington on Wednesday (8 March), referring to a Cold War-era agreement.
“The system … presents a risk to most of our facilities in Europe and we believe that the Russians have deliberately deployed it in order to pose a threat to Nato and to facilities within the Nato area of responsibility,” he added. Continue reading
U.S. President Donald Trump is actively pressuring NATO allies to increase their defense spending. Germany currently spends about 1.2 percent of GDP on defense, which Merkel vows to change if she is elected for a fourth term in office this September.
“Obligations have to be fulfilled,” Merkel said at a campaign rally on Feb. 25. “And, others in the world will demand that of us. And, I think they’re right that Germany must uphold its obligations.” Continue reading
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