End Times and Current Events

General Category => Europe => Topic started by: Psalm 51:17 on November 24, 2011, 08:34:05 am

Title: Watch Germany
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 24, 2011, 08:34:05 am


German bonds fall; stocks, euro vulnerable

LONDON (Reuters) - German government bond yields hit their highest in nearly a month and world stocks held near 7-week lows Thursday, a day after a weak debt sale in Berlin fanned fears the euro zone debt crisis is starting to threaten its biggest > falling 115 ticks on the day to 134.66, the lowest since October 31.

Ten-year German government bond yields rose as high as 2.14 percent compared with economy.

The euro remained vulnerable near a 7-week low against the dollar as investors eyed a meeting of leaders from France, Germany and Italy for any signs of cracks in Berlin's resistance to more concerted action to end the two-year-old crisis.

Repercussions from the auction, in which Germany found no buyers for almost half of the 6 billion euros on offer, extended into a second day, with Bund futures just 1.724 percent earlier this month.

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Title: Re: German bonds fall; stocks, euro vulnerable
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on December 07, 2011, 06:57:12 pm
Germany sells 4.1 bln euros of five-year notes
7 December 2011, by William L. Watts - Frankfurt (MarketWatch)

The German government on Wednesday sold 4.09 billion euros ($5.5 billion) of five-year notes, or Bobls, at an average yield of 1.11%.

The Bundesbank, which conducts auctions on behalf of the German Finance Agency, said it received 8.67 billion euros in bids for a bid-to-cover ratio of 2-to-1.

The Bundesbank set aside 910 million euros for the Finance Agency to use in secondary market operations

Title: Re: German bonds fall; stocks, euro vulnerable
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on December 08, 2011, 08:19:30 pm


Wall St falls on dashed euro-zone hopes, Germany's rejection
(Reuters) - Wall Street fell on Thursday after the European Central Bank dashed hopes that policy-makers were preparing a financial "bazooka" to contain the debt crisis, and Germany rejected some proposals to add power to the euro zone's bailout fund.

U.S. markets have been on edge all week in anticipation of a summit deal that would come to grips with the euro zone's growing debt crisis, and pave the way for greater action by the ECB to hold down bond yields.

But actions from Europe - both early and late in the day - were a stark disappointment.

Before the market's open, ECB President Mario Draghi discouraged expectations that the central bank would massively increase its purchases of government bonds after a crucial Brussels summit on Friday.

Shortly before the closing bell, Germany rejected some measures in draft conclusions from the summit, including giving the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) a banking license and issuing common euro-zone debt. U.S. stocks and the euro fell sharply following the news.

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Title: Germany urges Greece to accept offers of help
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 19, 2012, 08:40:32 pm
Germany urges Greece to accept offers of help


BERLIN (Reuters) - Greece should accept Germany's offers of help, for example to create a more efficient system of taxation, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was quoted as saying by a weekly paper on Sunday.
"We have been ready for quite a while for our finance officials to help the Greeks to help build a more efficient tax administration," Schaeuble told the Tagesspiegel am Sonntag, adding however that Athens had not yet accepted this offer.
But the idea could further ruffle feathers in Greece, which has reacted angrily to German calls for the appointment of a "budget commissioner", saying it would undermine national sovereignty.
Volker Kauder, parliamentary floor leader for Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), also urged Greece to accept offers of help.


Title: Watch Germany
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 10, 2012, 09:09:31 pm
German industry is preparing for Euro-Crash

(google translation)


Contingency plans for a Greek Euro-exit in German companies are in demand as never before. Many move from their capital as a precaution, some even before getting ready for a collapse of the euro zone.

The Greeks may be left after the parliamentary election on Sunday, the euro zone - with incalculable consequences for the currency area and the entire world economy. The fact that the Spanish banking sector is rescued in time, before its collapse, exploding the monetary union is possible, but not guaranteed.

And even if the immediate problems are solved - there remain fundamental problems. "So, how does it at the moment, do not make monetary union work long term," said Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann, "Welt Online".

German economy is attracting capital from countries in crisis

The German economy is meanwhile also preparing for a disaster scenario, the newspaper result research at companies, consultancies and law firms.

"Advice for a euro exit of Greece or other aggravations of the crisis are extremely popular right now," says Linklaters partner Andreas Steck. Linklaters is currently scheduled in Germany alone, about 20 lawyers on this issue.

"Some companies are trying their liquid funds from the crisis countries as far as possible, be deducted in order to avoid the risk that the assets are converted to a euro exit suddenly as in drachma," said Steck.

"Especially after the first cargo insurers have started exports to Greece can no longer assure the uncertainty is increased again," says Max Falkenberg, a partner at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. "It's like a company that is on the verge of bankruptcy. One has to be extremely careful with all kinds of contracts and attempts to minimize the risks, where it goes"

Companies get emergency plans from the drawer

At the start of the euro crisis, more than two years ago, many German companies are still content to prepare emergency plans - so they can be put in the drawer. Meanwhile, companies have begun to clean out.

"Most companies do not wait for it escalates further," says Thomas Poppensieker, who is responsible in Germany for the McKinsey consulting in risk management. "They long look at how they exposed to various countries like Spain and how the individual partners are exposed there."

There is also high time suppose Maximilian von Rom, a partner at chambers Gleiss Lutz: "When the crisis escalated, and a company must first get its contracts from the basement, then it has lost valuable time."

Meanwhile, not only Greece is in focus. "Also with regard to other euro-zone members like Spain and Italy, companies try to minimize their risks," says Daniel Stelter, a partner at Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

A South German conglomerate confirmed "Welt Online" sub rosa, that the finance department daily in the central control, the evolution of the Spanish subsidiary account balances, money that is not necessarily used in Spain, is withdrawn.

Lost Euro business compensate elsewhere

"The precautions consist of companies such as the fact that Southern partners is shorter payment terms," ​​adds Ilja Nothnagel, foreign trade expert at the German Industry and Commerce board of trade (DIHK). Among the companies which have acted according to its own way is Adidas one of them.

A particular problem is the information technology. No one tell if booking systems would continue to do their work reliably if the euro would replace a large number come from other currencies, says Michael Kliger, a trade expert with the consulting firm Accenture. He tells of a large German trading company that is already prepared for it - and "now so far is that it could work in a very short time with a variety of currencies in Europe."

And finally there are very different questions: how to cut costs in the case of the case, how to win new markets? "Many German companies, there is a reaction to the resurgence of the euro crisis in the fact that you consider how the lost business can be compensated in the crisis countries outside the euro zone," said Anton Börner, president of the Greater Foreign Trade Association and BGA.

And as Börner, so keeps Harald Völker, chief financial officer of machinery and equipment manufacturer Trumpf, conceivable that Europe's economy "gets a whole in choppy waters." Then, the manager said, "and we must and want to be prepared."

And so Völker has calculated, from which emerging new savings programs are needed and capacity must be reduced. It is not yet ready. But the jobs in the sector of the euro zone were already at least 17 percent below last year's level. An end of the downturn is not in sight.


Title: Re: Watch Germany
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 12, 2012, 10:59:34 pm
Angela Merkel: She’s Got the Whole World, In Her Hands


The sovereign debt crisis in Europe has crippled economies, nations and financial institutions and is threatening to destabilize global markets. Yet one woman may hold Europe's — and the world's — fate in her hands: German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel's stark vision of austerity has come under intense scrutiny and has been increasingly challenged as the euro zone falls deeper into recession. A restive populace, frustrated with budget cuts and rising unemployment, is fighting back, ousting former Merkel allies like France's Nicolas Sarkozy and electing government leaders that oppose harsh austerity measures.

On June 17, Greek voters will answer the question that has rattled global markets for months: will it stay or exit the 17-member euro zone?

Greece's problems are not endemic; Portugal and Ireland have received billion dollar bailouts and Spain announced over the weekend that its teetering banking sector would be injected with up to $125 billion in EU funds. Euro zone banks may be at risk of tipping the region into financial ruin but this crisis has already deeply impacted the lives of millions of Europeans since the crisis began two years ago. Unemployment in the euro zone was 11 percent in April, the highest it has been since 1995. Spain's labor market has experienced unprecedented losses and half of the nation's young adults cannot find work. The EU's debt crisis threatens not only Europe's economic future but the financial destiny of the U.S. and Asia too.

"Europe is really the single-biggest uncertainty hanging over the world economy and one country more than any other country has the power to kind of dispel that shadow and that's Germany," says Zanny Minton Beddoes, economics editor for The Economist. "[Merkel] is the single-most important person in terms of where the world economy is going in the next few months."

In the accompanying video, Minton Beddoes provides a blueprint for what she believes could be the solutions Merkel and her political partners need to embrace.

Merkel's austerity approach has broadened to include more growth initiatives over the past few months Minton Beddoes notes, but the German Chancellor still insists that austerity will produce the desired results.

Instead, Minton Beddoes says Merkel should be encouraging the euro zone to create a banking union with euro-wide deposit insurance. She also recommends debt mutualization — or limited euro bonds — that would allow lagging countries like Greece and Italy to reduce their debt burdens and allow their economies to grow gradually.

On paper these ideas may sound like the right solutions, but convincing an intensely skeptical electorate that they're best for everyone may be the toughest challenge yet for Merkel.

"Will she have the political courage to put forward policies that aren't popular with a large chunk of her electorate?" asks Minton Beddoes. "In Germany, the sense of crisis is not imminent. There is still a prevailing sense in Germany that this is a crisis in southern Europe which a whole load of profligate people had coming to them."

Merkel has insisted that she does not want to break up the euro zone. "I have the will, the determination to keep Greece in the euro zone," she said in an interview with CNBC last month. "I think it would be good for Greece, it would be good for all of us."

Merkel's rhetoric may be resolute, but her mixed messages and indecision have allowed the euro zone to fall further into despair.

"She hasn't stepped up to the plate and taken on that position leading Europe forward," Minton Beddoes adds. Germany has "no sense" of a looming catastrophe and "what the costs would be if the euro falls apart."

Title: Re: Watch Germany
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 14, 2012, 10:26:41 am
Germany not strong enough to tackle problems alone
14 June 2012, Berlin (MarketWatch)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a political union in Europe during a parliamentary session in Berlin on Thursday, and said Germany is strong but isn't able to tackle all problems alone.

"Germany's strength is not infinite, Germany's strength is not unlimited," she said.

World leaders come together on Monday and Tuesday in Los Cabos, Mexico, for the G-20 meeting to discuss current affairs such as poverty, youth unemployment and environmental issues.

Ms. Merkel said all issues at the meeting would be dominated by the ongoing European debt crisis.

According to Ms. Merkel, all eyes will be on Germany again, waiting for an answer on how to emerge from the crisis.

But she warned about expecting too much from Germany.

"All agreements and packages would be useless if it turns out that they exceed Germany's capabilities," she said.

Ms. Merkel also reiterated her support for Spain's decision to request a bailout for its banks.

"The sooner Spain asks for the bailout, the better," she said. Spain said Saturday it planned to request aid from the euro-zone bailout fund to recapitalize its ailing banks.

Euro-zone finance ministers said they were prepared to approve up to €100 billion in loans once Spain files a formal application.

Ms. Merkel called for the European Central Bank to play an important role in the supervision of banks in Europe, citing the inaccurate results of stress tests in Spain.

"I would not mind the ECB to have more supervision power that stop us from delaying solutions," she said.

Title: Re: Watch Germany
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 19, 2012, 05:09:33 pm
[size=18]Germany surrenders over eurozone bailout fund[/size]


All the financial firepower Europe can muster will be used to drive down Spain's borrowing costs – that, at least, is the talk

If the stories coming out of Los Cabos are correct, the Germans have surrendered. Angela Merkel, it appears, has agreed that Europe's bailout fund should be used to buy up Spanish bonds. This is precisely the show of "shock and awe" that the markets have been demanding, and the immediate response will undoubtedly be positive. All the financial firepower that Europe can muster will be used in an attempt to drive down Spain's borrowing costs from the 7%-plus level they have reached this week.

That, at least, is the talk. It is worth noting from the outset that Europe has failed to deliver on its fine-sounding rhetoric in the past. The detail of this deal may prove less impressive than the behind-the-scenes briefing, in which case the market reaction will be swift and brutal.

But let's assume that this is for real. Why would Germany be prepared to play fast and loose with the tough conditions that Berlin itself insisted on when the European Financial Stability Facility and its successor were created.

The rules say that the bailout funds should not take on the risks associated with buying up the debt of a member country unless it is part of an official European Union-International Monetary Fund programme. Although details are sketchy, this appears to be the sort of no-strings attached deal that Merkel has always steadfastly opposed.

So why is this happening? Not because Germany has come under fire at the G20 summit, although it has. Not because Merkel has changed her mind about the potential costs of such an arrangement for her own taxpayers. Rather, it is because the events of the past few weeks have left Germany with a binary choice: support emergency action to prop up the eurozone's fourth biggest economy or watch monetary union slide into the abyss. Berlin does not want to be blamed for destroying the euro "project", and recognises that a crisis involving Spain (with Italy waiting in the wings) is of a whole different order or magnitude to one affecting Greece, Portugal and Ireland.

What this means is that European policymakers have decided to take on the bond vigilantes. The hope is that they can drive 10-year Spanish bond yields out of the danger zone, take the pressure off the creaking Spanish banking system, and thus avoid the need for Madrid to seek formal help from the EU and the IMF.

This, for certain, is a high stakes game. Part of Europe's fighting fund has already been spent on bailing out Greece, Portugal and Ireland. Spain has also pledged funds to the EFSF and ESM, and these clearly cannot be spent buying up the country's own debt. The markets might decide that it is worth taking on Europe in the way that George Soros did in 1992, when he saw the pound as ripe for a killing.

That risk is exacerbated by the dire state of the Spanish economy, which is suffering from a long-lasting hangover after the bubble in its construction and property sectors in the years running up to 2007. With a tough austerity programme in place, the economy is still going backwards and house prices have further to fall. A lot further, in all probability. If the **** fails, Spain will still need a bailout and Europe will have nothing left in the kitty for Italy. But in the circumstances, Merkel and her fellow eurozone leaders may think it is a **** they have to take.


Title: Re: Watch Germany
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 26, 2012, 06:11:43 pm
Egan Jones Downgrades Germany From AA- To A+
26 June 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

The unstoppable Egan-Jones juggernaut continues:

6/26/2012: Federal Republic Of Germany: EJR lowered AA- to A+ (Neg.) (S&P: AAA) (3413Z GR)

Synopsis: German chancellor Angela Merkel continues to create tension with EU member states by resisting calls for EU bonds (shared liabs.),

money printing calls and for her pushing for fiscal controls and the seniority of bailout funding.

Germay is likely to be outvoted by other ECB members and therefore will have greater prospective exposure.

Watch for the EFSF and the ESM morphing into banks (thereby depressing eventual recoveries) and a rise in the number of euros.

The fallout from a likely Greek exit needs to be monitored. We are cutting to " A+ "

More here http://www.egan-jones.com/mail/report.aspx?ID=51043&AccessCode=9027c6cc-f77a-4b3c-939a-ef94f0486ad2&ReportCode=a1897349-608d-442b-ba9e-1211927ba40c&ClientID=1829

Title: Re: Watch Germany
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on August 13, 2012, 01:00:05 pm
Italian, German yields diverge at T-bill auctions
13 August 2012, Frankfurt (MarketWatch)

Investors once again highlighted the euro area's north-south divide Monday as Italy's borrowing costs edged higher at a 12-month Treasury bill auction, while German six-month funding costs hit yet another fresh record low.

Title: Germany approves bailout fund – now Barroso wants to create a federal future
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on September 13, 2012, 10:12:22 am

Europe hopes it has taken a major step towards stability but EC President calls for more


Ambitious proposals for a federal Europe were spelt out yesterday by the European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, in a controversial speech which argued that deeper political and fiscal union were the only ways of preventing future crises in the eurozone.

In an impassioned address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, delivered only minutes before Germany's constitutional court approved the eurozone's permanent bailout fund, Mr Barroso attempted to counter Eurosceptic criticism by insisting that he was not calling for a "European super-state".

However, the head of the EU's executive arm added that "we will need to move towards a federation of nation states. This is our political horizon. This is what must guide our work in the years to come." Although he admitted that such a shift could only be completed under a new EU treaty, Mr Barroso blamed the euro crisis on the lack of political cohesion within the European Union, which he said had served only to undermine the currency bloc's credibility among Europe's citizens and on the financial markets.

The crisis, he concluded, had revealed the need for a "leap forward" in political integration to complement current moves to harmonise EU economic and fiscal policies. Europe, he insisted, needed a "democratic federation of nation states that can tackle our common problems, through the sharing of sovereignty in a way that each country and its citizens are better equipped to control their own destiny".

At the same time Mr Barroso unveiled proposals for unified EU banking supervision of some 6,000 banks across the Continent under the auspices of the European Central Bank. He said that such a move would be a "quantum leap" towards a full banking union. Mr Barroso said he would submit ideas for the notoriously difficult process of European treaty change before the next EU elections in 2014 to enable a full and wide-ranging debate on Europe's future.

His calls for a federalist Europe were a significant policy switch for the former Portuguese Prime Minister who until yesterday had taken a cautious line on the ideological issue of how closely EU member states should integrate and how much national sovereignty they should cede to Brussels.

His speech appeared certain to provide ammunition for Eurosceptic groupings in Europe, not least the Conservative Party in the UK, which remain deeply opposed to the idea of devolving more power to Brussels. Martin Callanan, leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists, described the speech as "more of the same old tired approach" and said it was " the knee-jerk reflex of the European elite".

Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the Alliance of Liberal Democrats, also criticised Mr Barroso, saying that the EU first needed to deepen the structures it already had. "No, no, no, no federation of nation states. That's more of the same. That's more of what we have already," he complained.

However, in a reference to the European debt crisis, Mr Barroso said: "Many will say this is too ambitious and that it is not realistic – but let me ask you this – is it realistic to go on like we have been doing?"

The Commission President was optimistic about prospects for Greece staying in the EU. The Athens government is under the scrutiny of the so-called Troika – inspectors from the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the ECB – who are assessing Greece's progress in implementing financial reforms.

"I truly believe that we have a chance this autumn to come to a turning point," he said.

Mr Barroso's proposals for a banking union are an attempt to tackle one of the most pressing issues in the eurozone crisis, not least in the case of Spain, where weakness in the banking sector threatens the wider economy.

"The Commission is presenting legislative proposals for a single European supervisory mechanism," he told the European Parliament. "This is a quantum leap – a stepping stone towards a banking union."

The proposed banking union is expected to involve three steps: the European Central Bank would first be empowered to monitor the activities of all eurozone banks, and others within the European Union which agree to such a process. A fund would be set up to finance the closure of failing banks, and this would be coupled with a scheme to protect deposits across the eurozone.

Italian anger over claims of City mis-selling

Several banks based in the City of London have been accused of mis-selling financial products to Italy. Nomura, UBS and Deutsche Bank are among those alleged by Italian prosecutors to have mis-sold £28bn of derivatives to the country's cities and regions.

One source of anger is that the Italians believe the UK Financial Services Authority was aware of the allegations, but failed to follow them up and indeed asked a whistleblower to stop contacting it.

In the 10 years after 1997, Italian regions borrowed about £111bn from the banks with deals that offered what seemed to be attractive rates of repayment. But the repayments were dependent on the performance of complex swap derivatives which ended up costing the Italians far more than they expected.

BBC's Newsnight claims that the FSA was aware of the mis-selling allegations.

Claudi Gatti, an investigative journalist with Il Sole 24 Ore, told the BBC: "The banks didn't provide sufficient information to local authorities on the risk they were taking."

The banks declined to comment, noting that the issue is now before the Italian courts.

Dutch poll tests austerity fears

Dutch voters went to the polls yesterday to pick a new parliament in a test of the support for stringent austerity measures which are set to influence the way Europe tackles the debt crisis.

The election has boiled down to a race between the VVD party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and Labour, led by Diederik Samsom.

While Mr Rutte is an ally of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and supports her austerity agenda, Mr Samsom is closer to French President François Hollande.

Title: Re: Watch Germany
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on September 14, 2012, 06:36:15 pm


Greece euro exit expensive for Germany too: Asmussen

BERLIN (Reuters) - A Greek exit from the euro zone could be a "very expense path" for the country, for Europe and also for Germany, European Central Bank policymaker Joerg Asmussen was quoted as saying, warning it should not be talked about lightly.
There has been a rumbling debate in Germany about the possibility of cutting debt-laden Greece free. Most would prefer not to, but an increasing number of lawmakers and influential figures have openly said the euro zone is strong enough to deal with the fallout.
Some leading German newspapers have also sounded increasingly eurosceptic in the past few months, warning of the expense of bailing out other European countries that become embroiled in the region's three year old debt crisis.
"An exit could become a very expensive path economically for Greece, Europe and also for Germany," the ECB executive board member was quoted as saying in Friday's edition of Rheinische Post, adding a warning against "speaking lightly about an exit".
"My preference is for Greece to stay in the euro zone. The key to that lies with Greece itself."
Inspectors from the so-called troika of the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and ECB are in Athens to evaluate Greece's progress on agreed targets before releasing the next, 32 billion euro ($41.30 billion), tranche from a 130 billion euro aid package.
Greece must come up with nearly 12 billion euros of extra cuts for the next two years to get the money, and it has fallen behind in reforms.

Title: Re: Watch Germany
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on October 17, 2012, 10:26:02 am
Swiss rating agency stripped Germany of its AAA rating

Huw Pill, from Goldman Sachs, said Germany has, in fact, allowed “veiled” debt mutualisation through its share of €750bn (£607bn) of bail-out liabilities.

Less visibly, it has let the ECB boost its balance sheet to 32% of GDP, even before it embarks on “unlimited” purchases of Club Med bonds.

This includes a €1 trillion lending blitz to banks, and more than €200bn of bond purchases.

It is precisely for this reason that Swiss rating agency I-CV stripped Germany of its AAA rating last month.

“Germany has taken on contingent liabilities of €2 trillion.

When you create these backstops, the money comes from somewhere and it can all go wrong,” said I-CV’s Rene Hermann

Germany is in deeper than it likes to tell its own people.

From: Germany Wants To Be Europe’s Currency Tsar http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-10-17/germany-wants-be-europes-currency-tsar

Youri Carma: It’s only very logical that in the end Germany’s triple-A status would be challenged when implying to be the ‘lender of last resort’.

From: Wonder What Would Alice In Wonderland Say To The Vampire Squid? http://maxkeiser.com/2012/10/04/youri-carma-wonder-what-would-alice-in-wonderland-say-to-the-vampire-squid/

Title: Re: Watch Germany
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 14, 2013, 02:23:24 pm


Eurozone recession deepens as Germany falters

BERLIN (AP) — It was only a matter of time. With many of its debt-ridden euro partners in recession, Germany could only swim against the tide for so long.
Figures Thursday showed that output in Germany, Europe's largest economy, contracted by more than anticipated in the last three months of 2012. And it was the German drop that lay behind a deepening of the recession across the economy of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro.
Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, said the eurozone's economic output shrank by 0.6 percent in the final quarter of 2012 from the previous three-month period. The decline was bigger than the 0.4 percent drop expected in markets and the steepest fall since 2009, when the global economy was in its deepest recession since World War II.
There are hopes, though, that the fourth quarter of 2012 will mark the low point for the eurozone, and Germany in particular. Many economists are predicting that the eurozone recession may end in the first half of the year.
Nevertheless, Thursday's figures highlight the scale of the problems that have afflicted the single currency zone over the past year. Fears of a break-up, if not a collapse, of the currency dented confidence at a time when many governments were embarked on fairly severe debt-reduction programs.


Title: Re: Watch Germany
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 20, 2013, 11:33:19 am


German 'green revolution' may cost 1 trillion euros - minister

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's transition to renewable energy may cost up to 1 trillion euros ($1.34 trillion) in the next two decades, the environment minister said on Wednesday, piling pressure on his opponents to back plans to cap power price rises before the election.
With an eye on the September vote, Peter Altmaier, one of conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel's most trusted ministers, has outlined plans to rein in subsidies for renewable power which have pushed up consumers' electricity bills.
However, his plans may be doomed as the opposition Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens have reservations and could block legislation in the Bundesrat upper house.
"The costs of our energy reform and restructuring of energy provision could amount to around 1 trillion euros by the end of the 2030s," Altmaier told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.


Title: Re: Watch Germany
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 20, 2013, 09:24:40 pm
German Leader Calls Euro Rate 'Normal,' Warns on Currency Manipulation



BERLIN—German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday appeared to play down concerns that the euro is overvalued and cautioned against any international efforts to devalue currencies in order to boost exports.

Ms. Merkel said a euro exchange rate between $1.30 and $1.40 is "normal in the historical context of the euro."

The euro was at $1.3280 in late afternoon trading Wednesday in New York. It edged close to the $1.20 mark in the summer, before the European Central Bank pledged do to whatever it takes to preserve the common currency. It reached a 15-month high of $1.3711 on Feb. 1, before pulling back on renewed concerns about Spain and Italy.

As political leaders in Europe, particularly in France, have voiced concerns that the euro's recent strength will damp growth, the German government has repeatedly asserted that the euro has returned of late to historical norms and isn't too highly valued. The euro's rise, Germany says, indicates that trust is being restored in the currency as progress is made toward overcoming the euro zone's sovereign-debt crisis.

Ms. Merkel, in a speech to economists in Berlin on Wednesday, underscored the need for exchange rates to be determined by the free market, but said "all participants must adhere to that." The recent consensus by finance ministers from the Group of 20 industrial and developing nations to refrain from currency manipulation, she said, was an "important signal." There will be enough time by the next G-20 meeting in September, she added, to see if all nations abide by the commitment.


Title: Re: Watch Germany
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 23, 2013, 01:03:23 pm
Hmmm...for awhile, Germany was continuing to have a rock solid economy(one of the very few in Europe to do so recently)...

Germany Drags Down Growth in Euro Zone

A sharp drop in German business activity overshadowed an easing downturn in France in April, surveys showed on Tuesday, raising concerns over a further economic contraction in the euro zone. Markit's flash euro zone services PMI, an early gauge of business activity each month, rose to 46.6 in April from 46.4 in March, below the 50 line that divides growth from contraction but matching the forecast of economists. Survey compiler Markit cautioned against taking the rise as a clear sign the region's recession has bottomed out, pointing to a surprise decline in German companies that form the backbone of the euro zone economy. "Previously, we've seen Germany expand while other countries have contracted - notably Spain, Italy and France," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit. "Now it seems those contractions are being accompanied by a downturn in the largest economy, Germany, and that will no doubt act as a drag on growth."

There was some respite for French companies, which in March endured their worst month since the depths of the deep recession in 2009, and that helped the to support the latest wider euro zone PMI. Williamson said officials at the European Central Bank, which meets next week to decide monetary policy, may be relieved to see the euro zone PMIs at least did not signal a further deterioration this month.


Title: German court case could force euro exit, warns key judge
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 10, 2013, 02:03:29 pm
German court case could force euro exit, warns key judge
Crucial hearings on the eurozone’s bail-out policies at Germany’s top court this week could set in motion events that force Germany’s withdrawal from the euro, a leading judge has warned.



Udo di Fabio, the constitutional court’s euro expert until last year, said the explosive case on the legality of the European Monetary Union rescue machinery could provoke a showdown between Germany and the European Central Bank (ECB) and ultimately cause the collapse of monetary union.

“In so far as the ECB is acting 'ultra vires’, and these violations are deemed prolonged and serious, the court must decide whether Germany can remain a member of monetary union on constitutional grounds,” he wrote in a report for the German Foundation for Family Businesses.

“His arguments are dynamite,” said Mats Persson from Open Europe, which is issuing its own legal survey on the case on Monday.

Dr Di Fabio wrote the court’s provisional ruling last year on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the €500bn (£425bn) bail-out fund. His comments offer a rare window into thinking on the eight-strong panel in Karlsruhe, loosely split 4:4 on European Union issues.

The court is holding two days of hearings, though it may not issue a ruling for several weeks. The key bone of contention is the ECB’s back-stop support for the Spanish and Italian bond markets or Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT), the “game-changer” plan that stopped the Spanish debt crisis spiralling out of control last July and vastly reduced the risk of a euro break-up.

The case stems from legal complaints by 37,000 citizens, including the Left Party, the More Democracy movement, and a core of eurosceptic professors, most arguing that the ECB has overstepped its mandate by financing the deficits of bankrupt states.

Berenberg Bank said the case was now “the most important event risk” looming over the eurozone, with concerns mounting over an “awkward verdict” that may constrain or even block ECB action.

Dr Di Fabio said the court, or Verfassungsgericht, does not have “procedural leverage” to force the ECB to change policy but it can issue a “declaratory” ultimatum. If the ECB carries on with bond purchases regardless, the court can and should then prohibit the Bundesbank from taking part.

The Bundesbank’s Jens Weidmann needs no encouragement, say experts. He submitted a report to the court in December attacking the ECB head Mario Draghi’s pledge on debt as highly risky, a breach of both ECB independence and fundamental principles. The ECB does not have a legal mandate to uphold the “current composition of monetary union”, he wrote.

Dr Di Fabio said it was hard to imagine that an “integration-friendly court” would push the EMU “exit button”, but it can force a halt to bond purchases. This may amount to the same thing, reviving the eurozone crisis instantly.

“It would pull the rug from under the whole project. It is the OMT alone that has calmed markets and saved the periphery,” said Andrew Roberts from Royal Bank of Scotland. Mr Draghi said last week that the OMT was the “most successful monetary policy in recent times”.

The court dates back to the Reichskammergericht of the Holy Roman Empire created in 1490, but it was revived after the Second World War along the lines of the US Supreme Court.

It has emerged as the chief defender of the sovereign nation state in the EU system, asserting the supremacy of the German Grundgesetz over EU law, hence the German term “Verfassungspatriotismus”, or constitution patriotism.

The court backed the Lisbon Treaty but also ruled that Europe’s states are “Masters of the Treaties” and not the other way round, and reminded Europe that national parliaments are the only legitimate form of democracy. It said Germany must “refuse further participation in the EU” if it ever threatens the powers of the elected Bundestag.

It issued another “yes, but” ruling last September. It threw out an injunction intended to freeze the ESM, but it also tied Berlin’s hands by capping Germany’s ESM share at €190bn, and blocked an ESM bank licence. It killed off hope of eurobonds, debt-pooling, or fiscal union by prohibiting the Bundestag from “accepting liability for decisions by other states”.

Crucially, the court said the Bundestag may not lawfully alienate its tax and spending powers to EU bodies, even if it wants to, for this would undermine German democracy.

Chief Justice Andreas Vosskuhle said at the time that Germany had reached the limits of EU integration. Any further steps would require a “new constitution”, and that in turn would require a referendum.