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Posts Tagged ‘Spiegel’

Merkel and Macron Find the Strength for Europe

Posted by hkarner - 24. Mai 2020

Date: 22‑05‑2020

Source: DER SPIEGEL by Peter Müller

France and Germany have once again banded together for the greater good in Europe. Their show of unity was long overdue.

Germany and France have restarted the EU engine.

When Emmanuel Macron talks about a weighty new initiative, it sounds something like this: „What we have accomplished here is sensational.“ When Angela Merkel introduces the same plan, she says: „We’ve patched things up, so to speak, between Germany and France.“

In this case, the euphoria of the French president seems more appropriate than the sobriety of the German chancellor. The two want to cushion the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic with a 500 billion‑euro ($545‑billion) recovery fund that would apply to the entire EU. It’s an historic step for the bloc and a strong sign of solidarity from stronger member states toward weaker ones.

If Merkel and Macron have their way, the European Commission will be allowed to take on significant amounts of debt for the first time. The money could then be distributed as grants to member states that have been hit particularly hard by the corona crisis. And, according to the concept as it stands now, they wouldn’t even have to pay the money back. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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„The Virus Will Continue To Spread“

Posted by hkarner - 28. April 2020

Date: 27‑04‑2020

Source: DER SPIEGEL By Hilmar Schmundt

Why Researchers Fear a Second Wave

Germany’s strict limitations on contact between people haven’t conquered the virus ‑ they have merely bought the country more time. Epidemiologists believe a second wave will come.

The hard work and privations to fight the coronavirus in Germany have been difficult: no daycare, no shopping, no vacation, no concerts. But the measures are having an effect. The country is letting out a sigh of relief, and many Germans are now yearning for a return to normalcy. Instead of telling people to relax, however, experts are sounding the alarm. A second wave, they argue, will spread across the country. It might happen this summer, or, as the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s centers for disease control, warned in March, it will happen „at the latest in the fall or winter.” That’s the point when many hospitals could reach their limits.

A number of leading epidemiologists agree that it is not a question of if, but of when. And when the highly infectious SARS‑CoV‑2 virus returns, the consequences could be worse than they were during the first wave. „A wave of infections like that would, of course, have a completely different impact,” Christian Drosten, the head of the virology department at Berlin’s Charité University Hospital, said in his popular podcast last week. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Dawn of a New Era

Posted by hkarner - 25. April 2020

Date: 23‑04‑2020

Source: DER SPIEGEL By Ullrich Fichtner

A Paradigm Shift Accelerated by the Coronavirus

Even before the arrival of COVID‑19, humanity found itself stuck in several crises at once. The current shock delivered by the coronavirus could accelerate a paradigm shift that was already underway. It may result in a better and more sustainable world.

  1. The Crash

The world that we still considered to be „normal“ back in February has collapsed in an historically unprecedented crash. Half of humanity is currently adhering to some form of lockdown protocols and every single continent has been affected ‑ poor regions and wealthy regions, urban areas and rural ones. Huge portions of the global economy have come to a grinding halt and 180 countries around the world that just a few weeks ago were experiencing economic growth and rising prosperity have now plunged into a deep recession.

The collapse of tourism, the massive disruptions to the global transportation sector and the suppression of urban life has, in many places, affected the entire spectrum of human activity, crippling the retail, production and service industries in addition to bringing sports, the arts and cultural life to a standstill. The entire leisure industry has been paralyzed. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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European Commissioner for Financial and Economic Affairs

Posted by hkarner - 23. April 2020

Date: 22‑04‑2020

Source: DER SPIEGEL Interview Conducted by Peter Müller in Brussels

„The EU Cannot Afford to Get Bogged Down in Past Discussions“

On Thursday, European leaders will discuss how to navigate the block through the economic crisis triggered by the novel coronavirus. In a DER SPIEGEL interview, European Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni talks about what is at stake and the need to find at least 1 trillion euros.

European Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni

The office of Paolo Gentiloni, 65, is on the 10th floor of the Berlaymont building in Brussels, the headquarters of the European Commission. He has a view out onto the Rue de la Loi, the main traffic arterial of the European Quarter, but it is completely empty on this day, as Gentiloni says over the telephone.

As commissioner for economic and financial affairs, Gentiloni is responsible for finding solutions to the question as to how economic reconstruction could look following the corona crisis. That issue will be the focus of this Thursday’s video summit between European Union heads of state and government. The front between southern and northern Europe has hardened on the issue of corona bonds and Gentiloni, a former prime minister of Italy, would like to move beyond this debate over the issuing of joint debt. But is that realitic?

In a DER SPIEGEL interview, he speaks about the proposals that will be up for debate at the Thursday summit and their chances for success.

DER SPIEGEL: Mr. Commissioner, is the EU failing in the face of the corona crisis? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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„This Crisis Will Spill Over and Result in a Disaster“

Posted by hkarner - 29. Februar 2020

Date: 28‑02‑2020

Source: DER SPIEGEL Interview Conducted by Tim Bartz

Economist Nouriel Roubini correctly predicted the 2008 financial crisis. Now, he believes that stock markets will plunge by 30 to 40 percent because of the coronavirus. And that Trump will lose his re‑election bid.

Economist Roubini: „The markets are completely delusional.“ 

Nouriel Roubini is one of the most prominent and enigmatic economists in the world. He correctly predicted the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble in addition to the 2008 financial crisis along with the ramifications of austerity measures for debt‑laden Greece. Roubini is famous for his daring prognostications and now, he has another one: He believes that coronavirus will lead to a global economic disaster and that U.S. President Donald Trump will not be re‑elected as a result.

DER SPIEGEL: How severe is the coronavirus outbreak for China and for the global economy?

Roubini: This crisis is much more severe for China and the rest of the world than investors have expected for four reasons: First, it is not an epidemic limited to China, but a global pandemic. Second, it is far from being over. This has massive consequences, but politicians don’t realize it.

DER SPIEGEL: What do you mean?

Roubini: Just look at your continent. Europe is afraid of closing its borders, which is a huge mistake. In 2016, in response to the refugee crisis, Schengen was effectively suspended, but this is even worse. The Italian borders should be closed as soon as possible. The situation is much worse than 1 million refugees coming to Europe.

DER SPIEGEL: What are your other two reasons?

Roubini: Everyone believes it’s going to be a V‑shaped recession, but people don’t know what they are talking about. They prefer to believe in miracles. It’s simple math: If the Chinese economy were to shrink by 2 percent in the first quarter, it would require growth of 8 percent in the final three quarters to reach the 6 percent annual growth rate that everyone had expected before the virus broke out. If growth is only 6 percent from the second quarter onwards, which is a more realistic scenario, we would see the Chinese economy only growing by 2.5 to 4 percent for the entire year. This rate would essentially mean a recession for China and a shock to the world. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Die Bahn kommt – in China wirklich

Posted by hkarner - 15. Dezember 2019

In Rekordzeit hat China sein Schnellzugnetz ausgebaut, heute verfügt das Land über mehr Gleiskilometer als der Rest der Welt zusammen. Viele Menschen steigen vom Flugzeug um. Noch ist die CO2-Ersparnis gering, doch das soll sich ändern.

Von Georg Fahrion, Peking, Spiegel.de

An einem Dezembertag schließen sich auf dem Shanghaier Bahnhof um 11.59 Uhr die Zugtüren, um Punkt zwölf rollt der G12 nach Peking los. In nur viereinhalb Stunden wird der Zug 1318 Kilometer zurücklegen, eine Distanz wie von der Ostsee zum Mittelmeer. Während der Fahrt reißt das WLAN kein einziges Mal ab.

Bequeme Sitze, großzügige Beinfreiheit, und acht Minuten nach Abfahrt beginnt der Bordservice: Eine Stewardess überreicht jedem Fahrgast ein Getränk, Cracker und Wasabi-Erbsen. Wenig später feudelt eine Frau in schwarzer Dienstmädchenuniform den tadellos sauberen Boden im Großraumwaggon. Um 12.22 Uhr zeigt ein Display an, dass die Höchstgeschwindigkeit erreicht ist: 339 km/h. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Germany Is Shirking Its EU Responsibilities

Posted by hkarner - 24. November 2019

Date: 23-11-2019
Source: DER SPIEGEL by Dirk Kurbjuweit

Germany used to be passionately pro-European, with the EU facilitating the country’s postwar return to the international community. These days? Not so much. And Berlin’s passivity is becoming dangerous.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

If the Germans were once the most committed, most passionate Europeans, they are today among the most half-hearted. Despite spending decades after World War II as the greatest beneficiary of the European idea, slowly shedding its pariah status, Germany is now extremely focused on its own interests. Even worse, though, is the fact that German politicians are no longer paying much attention to Europe at all. They are simply letting things take their course, playing catch up or just standing by and watching what happens next. It’s as if they are unable to recognize what is at stake.

A battle is underway in Europe and the U.S. for the future of liberal democracy. In the U.S., that fight is primarily focused on Donald Trump. In Europe, the situation is more multifaceted and less obvious, but no less dangerous. And as the strongest economy on the Continent, Germany should be on the front lines of that fight. Instead, the country is doing nothing to carry its weight, hunkering down in the middle of Europe seemingly with no idea what to do. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Macron Plays Fox in the EU Hen House

Posted by hkarner - 17. November 2019

Date: 16-11-2019

French President Emmanuel Macron has a grand foreign policy vision for Europe and he has been energetically pushing it forward. In the process, though, he has angered Germany and other European Union allies.

French President Emmanuel Macron

With a microphone in his right hand, his left shoved casually into his pocket, French President Emmanuel Macron was standing on the stage inside a former slaughterhouse in Paris, turning from side to side to address his entire audience. And it was quite an audience. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres was there, as was future European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other leading politicians.

It was Tuesday morning of this week and Macron was holding the opening address at the Paris Peace Forum, a two-day event aiming to bring together some of the major actors on the world stage. It’s an invention of the French government, a typically ambitious Macron project.

Macron spoke for 22 minutes about hegemony and colonialism, about World War I and the fall of the Berlin Wall. In closing, he quoted the recently deceased Hungarian philosopher Ágnes Heller, who said, in Macron’s telling, that more than ever, a certain amount of heroism is needed to provide answers to the present. Looking away in cowardice, remaining stuck in old habits and doing nothing, Macron continued, is not an option for all those who have been handed a political mandate by the electorate.

The message Macron was trying to send by quoting the Hungarian intellectual was relatively clear. I, Emmanuel Macron, he seemed to be saying, did nothing more in my widely criticized interview with the Economist than take a fresh look at our crisis-ridden present and draw my own conclusions. Part of that exercise was casting doubt on NATO’s functionality and on the readiness of the Germans to work toward establishing a strong, sovereign Europe. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Von der Leyens erste Grundsatzrede: „Europa muss die Sprache der Macht lernen“

Posted by hkarner - 10. November 2019

Date: 09-11-2019

Europas Partner müssen sich nach Ansicht der gewählten EU-Kommissionspräsidentin von der Leyen darauf einstellen, dass sich das Bündnis künftig härter, machtbewusster zeigen wird. Als Beispiel nannte sie China.

Ursula von der Leyen wird am 1.Dezember neue EU-Kommissionspräsidentin

Europa muss nach Auffassung der künftigen EU-Kommissionspräsidentin Ursula von der Leyen energischer in der Welt auftreten.

„Europa muss auch die Sprache der Macht lernen“, sagte sie in Berlin in einer Europa-Rede vor der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. „Das heißt zum einen, eigene Muskeln aufbauen, wo wir uns lange auf andere stützen konnten – zum Beispiel in der Sicherheitspolitik“, sagte die frühere deutsche Verteidigungsministerin. „Zum anderen die vorhandene Kraft gezielter einsetzen, wo es um europäische Interessen geht.“

„Wir können die Bedingungen beeinflussen, zu denen wir Geschäfte machen“

Als Beispiel nannte von der Leyen die Handelspolitik. China sei zwar ein wichtiger Handelspartner für Europa. Aber umgekehrt sei die EU Pekings größter Handelspartner. „Wir können die Bedingungen beeinflussen, zu denen wir Geschäfte machen“, sagte von der Leyen. Dies geschehe auch bereits. So freue man sich über jedes ausländische Unternehmen, das an Ausschreibungen in der EU teilnehme, sei es für den Bau von Autobahnen oder Stromtrassen. „Aber wir werden künftig stärker darauf achten, dass sich diese Unternehmen auch an unsere Standards halten, zum Beispiel was Arbeitsbedingungen und Umweltschutzvorschriften angeht.“ Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Will Tesla and Google Kill the German Car?

Posted by hkarner - 6. November 2019

Date: 05-11-2019

The End of an Era

Threatened by entrepreneurs in California and by Chinese upstarts, German automakers are urgently trying to find their place in a new world of robots and electric cars. BMW, Daimler, Audi and VW set the standards for a century but have now fallen behind.

Germany Faces the Electric Car

History will be written on Nov. 4 at the VW plant in Zwickau, Germany. Anyone lucky enough to recently visit the factory, which is sealed behind blue rolling doors, entered into a secret world, a hidden industrial laboratory to which only a few Volkswagen employees have access. In its „ghost run,“ or test operation, orange-colored robots run by highly complex programs and aided by humans and machines assembled eight electric model-ID.3 cars per day for testing purposes. Serial production is now set to begin on Nov. 4. Depending on how you see it, this marks either the beginning or the end of an era.

In the future, 1,500 electric Volkswagen cars are to roll off the assembly line at the plant in the eastern state of Saxony every day, a total of 330,000 vehicles every year, in what the company describes as the „largest and most efficient electric car factory in Europe.“ The designers of the new compact, C-class ID.3 want to make it a 21st century icon, just as the VW Beetle and VW Golf were in their heydays. That’s advertising language, of course, but even from a neutral perspective, it is difficult to overestimate the significance of what is happening: In Zwickau, Volkswagen is ringing the death knell for the combustion engine. By 2040, VW plans to cease manufacturing all cars that run on gasoline or diesel fuel. It’s the end of an era.

And what a momentous era it was. It lasted over 100 years, and was shaped in decisive ways by German inventors and engineers — courageous entrepreneurs, visionary designers and highly competent, skilled workers. During this era, German automobiles became the epitome of the highest quality workmanship around the world. A time when Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche and Audi, and the objects of global prestige they produced, became ambassadors for Germany. Their finely tuned engines were models for industrial excellence. German cars were considered „das Auto“ par excellence and Audi’s advertising slogan „Vorsprung durch Technik“ (Progress through technology) became one of the few German terms actually known in English. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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