Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was elected on Friday (7 December) by Germany's largest ruling party, the Christian Democrats (CDU) to lead the party and thus to likely be the next chancellor of Europe's economic and political powerhouse in a post-Merkel era. Kramp-Karrenbauer, known as AKK, won in a tight race with 517 votes, against 482 votes for Friedrich Merz, a corporate lawyer, whose election would have meant a sharp right turn for the CDU. The 56-year old AKK, on the other hand, is viewed as similar to chancellor Angela Merkel, with an even temper and centrist policies. Merz had represented those in the party who wanted to reject many of the chancellor policies, especially on migration. The vote means one of the first challenges AKK will have to deal with is party unity, as many in the party feel a clear break with Merkel and a right turn would help the centre-right party regain some of the votes gradually lost under Merkel's long leadership. The party is currently drawing around … [Read more...] about Merkel loyalist AKK wins CDU leadership battle
Daily briefing Germany’s 3Q dip; Brexit, why are we celebrating?; Spahn reminds AKK that he’s gay. Here's our Daily Briefing for November 15, 2018. Published on November 15, 2018 12:00 pm Germany’s mighty economy, that “engine” of the eurozone, just … shrank. Shrank? Yes, output decreased by 0.2 percent in the third quarter. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction, so we’re not there yet – and may not get there at all. Nonetheless, numbers such as these weigh heavily on people like the folks at the European Central Bank. They were hoping, as it were, to ease their easing – ie, to gradually exit from their bond-buying program and even to contemplate raising interest rates again one day. Now what? German economists are all in a tizzy about what this 3Q dip means. Some of them would like to blame it all on the German car industry, which – prepare to be shocked – has been struggling to … [Read more...] about Spahn goes after AKK and Merz, and everybody wins
Daily Briefing Germany’s annual economics ritual; Kramp-Karrenbauer’s Zen koan; and Manfred Weber wants you to know who he is. Here’s our Daily Briefing for November 8, 2018. Published on November 8, 2018 12:30 pm Every year around this time, Berlin stages one of its many rituals. The German Council of Economic Experts, colloquially known as the “Five Sages” or “Five Wise Men,” presents its annual report to the German government. The chancellor and a few senior ministers pose with the four sage men and one sage woman for a photo. The Experts recite their exhortations to good economic policy. The chancellor and her ministers ignore them. Everybody goes back to business as usual. So it happened again yesterday. For those who paid attention, the news was not good. The Sages cut their growth forecast quite a bit: to 1.6 percent this year, and 1.5 percent next year. Mainly they blamed external factors (read: Trump and trade). But … [Read more...] about AKK promises continuity and a fresh start. Huh?
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on Wednesday. Photo: DPA German Chancellor Angela Merkel's favoured successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Wednesday presented herself as a moderate continuity candidate, refraining from criticism or bold new vision statements. The 56-year-old usually dubbed "AKK" -- or "mini-Merkel" -- is running in December to take over as head of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) while Merkel hopes to serve out her government term as chancellor through to 2021. While two other top candidates have criticized Merkel's liberal immigration policy of years past and vowed to return the CDU to its conservative roots, AKK has signalled she will stick with a centrist stance. At a press conference in Berlin, the former state premier of tiny Saarland said that new leaders "stand on the shoulders of those who came before them". She said "an era is ending and a new chapter is beginning" but was careful to refrain from signalling any bold policy changes. A poll … [Read more...] about Favoured Merkel successor ‘AKK’ vows to pursue chancellor’s path
Daily Briefing Tesla wannabes; Merkel wannabes; and microwave attacks. Our Daily Briefing for September 4, 2018. Published on September 4, 2018 12:27 pm Germany, if you recall, makes a lot of cars, even good ones. That occasionally gets lost in the exhaust fumes of the Dieselgate scandal and the non-stop melodrama surrounding a much cooler car visionary, Elon Musk. As it happens, Mr. Musk, a Silicon Valley drama queen with Twitter habits resembling those of Donald Trump, currently seems at risk of self-destructing. So this might be a good time for a glance at what those Germans are up to. Quite a bit, it turns out. Tonight, Daimler will unveil the first model in its new family of electric vehicles. The brand is called EQ, and the car is an SUV called EQC. Other EQ babies are to follow later, from small city zippers to big honcho limos. Then, on Sunday, BMW will unwrap its electric sedan, called iNext. And in two weeks, Audi will show off something called e-tron. All of these … [Read more...] about Scholz, Spahn and AKK walk into a bar…