Lidia Conde (Francfort) | Christoph Schmidt, chairman of the Franco-German economic think tank for the past year – when he stepped down as chairman of the council of wise men advising the Berlin government – makes no secret of his concerns: “Both the European Green Deal and the Next Generation EU nourish the hope that Europe will emerge stronger from this crisis in the end. But between the EU’s ambitious plans and the final success, the final results, there is a long way to go. And on that road, member states will have to undertake the structural reforms that will increase their long-term growth potential and show their readiness to return to compliance with the stability and growth pact, with the debt rules”.
Hans-George Betz (Via Fair Observer) | There is an unwritten rule in politics: If you are incompetent, at least you should not be corrupt. It seems nobody ever informed the German Christian Democrats that this was the way of things. How else to explain why Christian Democratic MPs thought it was perfectly fine to take advantage of Germany’s COVID-19 crisis to line their own pockets? In German, we have a word, “Raffzahn,” to refer to somebody who cannot get enough, never satisfied with what they have. In the concrete case, a member of the German Bundestag from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) pocketed €250,000 ($298,000) in commissions for brokering a deal involving the procurement of FFP2 face masks by the federal and the state governments.
Tilman Pradt (Atlantic Sentinel) | Donald Trump bashing Germany is hardly surprising. It has been a constant of his presidency. The once-special partnership between Germany and the United States, which already lost some of its luster in the decades after the Cold War, sunk to a post-World War II low during his administration. Nor is Trump mistaken. Most Germans want to see him gone — with reason.
Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo | Tanzania also wants reparations from Germany for the atrocities carried out between 1905 and 1907. “Other countries have been compensated for war crimes. Why not us?, said MP Cosato Chumi. Berlin acknowledges the genocide but it doesn’t want to pay reparations and it is trying to agree some formal apology with Windhoek (Namibia). Ruprecht Polenz, the German negotiator says genocide does not imply reparations, only political and moral redress. In Dodoma (Tanzania), the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas proposed “forms of mutual support” other than “compensation.” Given the concern of other former empires and the necessary paradigm shift in Euro-African relations, Merkel is in two minds about opening this Pandora’s box.
Banca March | German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is considering temporarily lifting the suspension of the country’s debt limit in what would be a major change in the fiscal policy of Europe’s leading econom.
The world has changed a lot because China has changed a lot. China’s share of global GDP has risen from a negligible 2% in 1990 to 15.9%. Meanwhile, the other powers have fallen in that period: Japan, from 14 to 5.8%; Europe, from 35% to 21.9%; and the USA, from 27% to 23.9%, according to Weltbank data. So hundreds of thousands of jobs in Germany are now dependent on China. And all over the world, because China today accounts for 1/3 of world growth.
Gilles Moëc (Axa Investments Manager)| Those who like to see their glass half full probably took comfort in the fact that in Germany the manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rebounded by 0.2 pp in October relative to September, but this was again short of expectations and the absolute level remains very concerning.
Recently there’s again been talk of a two-speed Europe. During the mini-summit two weeks ago, Merkel, Hollande, Italy, Rajoy, gave the green light to this latest spin. The Spanish PM has said the country would be at the nucleus of this.
After the restructuring Santander carried out in Spain in 2016, the bank could be planning to improve efficiency in other countries, including Germany. Although the project is in an initial phase, it would obtain cost savings of about 15%.
Spain can’t imitate Germany in a context in which Europe is a closed zone where countries export to each other. And Spain is unlikely to become another Germany because the Spanish production model is still based on low productivity.