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
Russia Saturday called for an end to what it said was an outdated world order dominated by the West after US Vice President Mike Pence pledged Washington’s “unwavering” commitment to transatlantic allies in NATO.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offered a diametrically opposed global vision, just hours after Pence vowed to stand with Europe to rein in a resurgent Moscow.
“I hope that (the world) will choose a democratic world order — a post-West one — in which each country is defined by its sovereignty,” said Lavrov. Continue reading
Germany’s insistence on austerity in the euro zone has left Europe more divided than ever and a break-up of the European Union is no longer inconceivable, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told Der Spiegel magazine.
Gabriel, whose Social Democrats (SPD) are junior partner to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in her ruling grand coalition, said strenuous efforts by countries like France and Italy to reduce their fiscal deficits came with political risks. Continue reading
Sectors of the government in Berlin are calling bluntly for an intervention of the European Union (EU) to protect its members against unfair investment practices from Chinese state-owned and private companies. While both EU institutions and member states are sending mixed signals over this German proposal, hawkish supporters of Brexit – Britain’s exit from the EU – are pushing for their leaders to seize on the “China-bashing” that is taking place across the Channel.
Berlin fears that the rise in China’s takeovers of German national assets, notably in the dual-use (i.e. civil and military) hi-tech industry, is driven in large part by the Chinese undisguised desire to buy up Western know-how and intellectual properties, something that will negatively affect the country’s security. Continue reading
Germany’s Siemens signed a contract to upgrade Iran’s railway network on Monday, one of several deals agreed by German firms during a two-day visit to Tehran by Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel.
Gabriel has flown to Iran with a planeful of 120 managers who are keen to re-establish business relations with the Islamic Republic after it reached a landmark deal with world powers last year to scale back its disputed nuclear program.
But political concerns, and a range of U.S. sanctions still in place, have so far held back a hoped-for business boom. Continue reading