The "wise men" (and women) of the council of economic experts. Photo: DPA US President Donald Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminium risk escalating into a threat to the international trading system, a highly-regarded group of German economists said Wednesday. "An escalation of the trade conflict would damage international value chains and in the medium term threaten the international rules-based trading system," warned the German Council of Economic Experts - known as the "Wise Men" although one member is a woman. The economists highlighted other dangers in a regular report, including a disorderly British departure from the European Union, a tricky Italian election outcome dominated by populists, "geopolitical risks" from war and conflict and a financial crisis triggering a sudden slowdown in the Chinese economy. But "frictionlessly functioning world trade is of central importance for the continuation of the global upturn," they said. That made the threat to trade from … [Read more...] about Trump trade war is biggest risk to world economy, say German experts
GERMAN car makers face a whopping £3.4billion-a-year drop in sales in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, a bombshell report reveals.Brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi will have to shed 14,000 jobs if the EU doesn’t strike a good trade pact with Britain, experts predict.Analysts warned Berlin that German companies face “significant damage” to their operations if tariffs are slapped on goods from next year.Their dire prediction prompted one top politician to warn Angela Merkel she should put aside politics and reach a compromise with the UK.German MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel told The Sun: “The automotive industry is just an example.“After Brexit the UK will become the largest customer of the EU, ahead of the US and China.“That’s why it’s in the best interest of the EU to offer Britain the best trade deal possible.“Let’s not forget, this is not a new deal between two trade regions. European and British companies have … [Read more...] about German car industry will tank and devastate country’s economy if EU doesn’t give us good Brexit deal, new report claims
When Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the US last January, politicians in Berlin worried that it could have a dramatic impact on relations between the two allies. A year on there are reasons for optimism, as well as continued concern. Politicians in Germany generally keep quiet on the domestic politics of other states. But as Trump’s run for public office became ever more serious, senior politicians in Berlin couldn’t stop themselves expressing their distaste. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, then Foreign Minister now President, described the brash billionaire as a “hate preacher”. His SPD colleague Sigmar Gabriel, meanwhile, labelled him a “threat to peace”. While Chancellor Angela Merkel kept quiet on the rise of the real estate mogul, it is an open secret that she would have preferred to have met another female in the Oval Office after the November 2016 election. Top of the list of German concerns about a Trump administration were … [Read more...] about German-US relations after a year of Trump: what has changed?
Several German banks, exploiting a now-closed loophole relating to the excessive claiming of tax rebates, may have cost the German state up to €2.9 billion ($3.46 billion) in unpaid taxes, according to reports on Thursday. Citing sources in the German Ministry of Finance — which has been examining the mass fraud for the past few years — regional public broadcasters NDR and WDR and the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported that the total amount defrauded over many years was €5.3 billion. However, around €2.4 billion of that total figure has since been either recovered by the German treasury or else was not paid out as an illegitimate tax rebate in the first place. German authorities have been investigating over 400 of the so-called "cum-ex" cases, where banks and stockbrokers rapidly traded shares with ("cum") and without ("ex") dividend rights with the aim being to conceal the identity of the actual owner and allow both parties to claim tax … [Read more...] about German bank tax switches cost state billions
A homeless man in central Berlin. Photo: DPA Only in a city where everyone speaks a common language can people have enough sensitivity for changes in the world around them. The prevalence of English in Berlin makes this tricky, argues editor of The Local, Jörg Luyken. The conservative politician Jens Spahn controversially claimed last year that Berlin was turning into a version of 18th century Europe, when the upper classes removed themselves from society by speaking French rather than the local language. Whatever the accuracy of Spahn’s observation that “elite hipster” Germans prefer to talk in English than in their native tongue, he was right on one point: a common language is necessary for society to live harmoniously. And this is a problem which people who move into the German capital from abroad should think about. Berlin is currently undergoing rapid change as money and jobs have started pouring into the city for the first time since the Second World … [Read more...] about Berlin’s homelessness crisis shows why we all need to speak German