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Old July 18th, 2009 #1
Alex Linder
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Default Ties to Russia

Bear Hug
by Mark Hackard on July 16, 2009

Germany’s future lies to its Right.

Otto von Bismarck, Germany’s prince of diplomacy, once remarked, “With France we shall never have peace; with Russia never the necessity for war, unless Liberal stupidities or dynastic blunders falsify the situation.” While all is thankfully quiet on the Western front, Berlin is taking a page from the Iron Chancellor’s playbook and forging strategic links with Moscow.

Energy has proven essential between Germany and Russia, since Moscow supplies the German economy with over 40 percent of its natural gas. And to ensure that German end-users will not be affected by Russia’s various disputes with transit nations, the Kremlin is building a new pipeline. The Nord Stream project, set to run through the Baltic Sea and slated to come online in 2010-2011, would cement ties between Moscow and Berlin and bypass countries like Ukraine and Poland. The Germans, whose companies have a significant stake in the venture, prefer to sidestep East European issues entirely and maintain a secure link to Russia’s resource base.

While energy is a key dimension of the Russo-German relationship, it’s not the only one. In June Moscow’s Sberbank acquired 35 percent of the automaker Opel in a deal orchestrated at the top levels of power. Opel has been racked by financial woes brought on by the economic crisis, which were only compounded since its parent company had been the now-bankrupt GM. German Chancellor Angela Merkel considered GM responsible for the mess and was angered by Washington’s refusal to take part in the clean up. Berlin was happy to accept Russian funding for Opel, while the Russians have gained access to advanced manufacturing technologies they can put to use for domestic production.

What German diplomats call Verflechtung, or strategic interlocking, with Russia has been driven by joint interests. Partnership with Moscow has also coincided with a downturn in relations with Washington. It’s no secret that Angela Merkel and Barack Obama don’t get along well, but the matter extends beyond poor personal chemistry to divergent national priorities.

A major point of disagreement between the two capitals has been how to grapple with the world financial crisis. As the U.S. amasses trillions in debt through stimulus spending- and paves the way for hyperinflation—Obama is encouraging Western partners to follow suit. But the Germans aren’t taking the bait. Merkel and her colleagues share a collective memory of the ruin that postwar debts and fiat currency brought to the Weimar Republic. Answering Obama’s request for substantive European assistance in Afghanistan, Berlin pledged just a few hundred additional troops to its force there. Germany’s reluctance to become further involved in the Afghan counterinsurgency speaks volumes about its lack of confidence in NATO efforts to stabilize the Hindu Kush, as well as the general direction of U.S. “global leadership”.

Since the collapse of Soviet power, it’s been all but inevitable that Germany would begin to chart a course separate from that of the United States. Berlin’s objections to the U.S. invasion of Iraq were only the first major manifestation of discord between NATO allies. The Bundeskanzlerin has effectively put the brakes on Washington’s expansion of the North Atlantic alliance into the Caucasus and Ukraine. In light of Russian resurgence heralded by the 2008 war in Georgia, the Germans consider further U.S. encroachment in the former Soviet Union an unwise and dangerous proposition.

Germany is looking after its own interests regarding Russia, and it’s much more interested in partnership than confrontation in Eastern Europe. Though German citizens retain some anxiety about Russian revisionism, they also attribute this phenomenon to U.S. interference on Moscow’s periphery. As long as the White House continues to view NATO expansion into the former Soviet space as a long-term objective, its designs will run up against Germany’s refusal to be involved in another showdown with the Kremlin. Any likely deployments Washington plans for Poland or the Czech Republic will receive little German support. Given historical experience, Warsaw will sound the alarm over any possible entente between its two powerful neighbors. But no one has designs on Polish sovereignty; the last thing Berlin wants is to engage in a second Cold War on its eastern frontiers.

Collaboration between Berlin and Moscow makes a good deal of sense in the face of an uncertain strategic future. In a recent interview Ernst Uhrlau, head of the BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence service, spoke of a likely shift in the global balance of power resulting from the financial crisis. The BND chief made clear that Germany should prepare for a world in which Chinese influence could rise significantly. He also outlined a scenario of economic collapse and chaos, giving an unsubtle hint of the possibilities that await the West in the years ahead. Berlin will be looking for relevance and security in a Europe in flux. While contemporary Germany would hardly be a suitable candidate for the old Holy Alliance, a geopolitical partnership with Russia would be a net contributor to stability on the continent.

U.S. policymakers no doubt will voice their concerns of developing Russo-German cooperation in dark undertones (for here we’d an alliance of not one but two nations that have yet to “overcome their pasts”). Much has been made of Berlin’s dependence on Russian natural gas, the newest supposed threat to the liberty of Europe. The U.S. is attempting to corner Central Asian energy and route it westward with pipeline initiatives (foremost among which is Nabucco) precisely to keep the Europeans within its policy orbit. If Washington can cut the Kremlin out of the energy equation, it would have greater freedom of action to pursue its encirclement of Russia without heeding German objections. With the U.S. now being outmaneuvered in Eurasia, rhetoric casting emergent Russo-German ties as a second Rapallo or Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact will become more commonplace.

Claims that Germany and Russia are enacting yet another sinister plot to snuff out “freedom” can be easily recognized as the polemics of liberal internationalists with their own agenda. Foreign policy conducted from Berlin today is a far cry from the Third Reich’s drive to global supremacy. Germany’s influential interwar school of strategic thought, Geopolitik, attained notoriety as a “Nazi science”. This was due to its role in providing Hitler a conceptual framework for world conquest. The school’s founder, Karl Haushofer, was a mentor of party leader Rudolf Hess and enjoyed his patronage until the latter’s mysterious one-way flight to Scotland in May 1941. Haushofer advocated an alliance between Berlin and Moscow that would shut Anglo-American sea power out of Eurasia.

While there is a superficial similarity between the continental outlook of Haushofer’s Geopolitik and deepening Russo-German ties, Berlin isn’t exactly resuming the quest for Lebensraum. The push for a comprehensive regulatory treaty on global climate change constitutes the extent of aggressive moves by Germany in today’s international arena.

Building better relations with Moscow is a bold move in line with a more traditional foreign policy stance, though it remains to be seen whether Germans can take the next step and affirm their own culture. Modern Germany is mired in the same dysfunctions rooted in philosophical liberalism that plague the entire West, from mass immigration and falling birthrates to the myth of total individual autonomy. The stereotype of jackboots and mass parades has been overtaken by efficient recycling programs and the enforcement of multiculturalist orthodoxy. Yet the national will to dominate cannot be meaningfully replaced by the will to self-destruction.

From the time of the Cold War, Germans have embraced becoming dutiful citizens of the European Union, tolerant and generous hosts of waves of third-world immigrants, and whatever else the currents of later modernity demanded. The 12-year nightmare of National Socialism is never far from the German conscience, in both the life of society and the formulation of policy. It is extraordinary that Berlin pursues any strategic interests at all under the unnatural weight of such a mindset. Germany is only beginning to overcome the paralysis induced by its role in the apocalyptic 20th century.

http://www.takimag.com/blogs/article/bear_hug/
 
Old July 29th, 2009 #2
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I have to disagree with Mr. Hackard although only on some points. Germany as a capitalist nation with an exporting economy actually pursues a world order of globalized free markets where the consumers of the world will buy german products. It will indeed try to open the markets of the east, but at the same time will not want to lose it's western markets. As such these are the policies the German state will pursue on the international stage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Linder View Post
Bear Hug
by Mark Hackard on July 16, 2009

Germany’s future lies to its Right.


Energy has proven essential between Germany and Russia, since Moscow supplies the German economy with over 40 percent of its natural gas. And to ensure that German end-users will not be affected by Russia’s various disputes with transit nations, the Kremlin is building a new pipeline. The Nord Stream project, set to run through the Baltic Sea and slated to come online in 2010-2011, would cement ties between Moscow and Berlin and bypass countries like Ukraine and Poland. The Germans, whose companies have a significant stake in the venture, prefer to sidestep East European issues entirely and maintain a secure link to Russia’s resource base.
Oil accounts for approx. 36% of Germany's primary energy. Natural gas for about 23%. Germany as a nation with no relevant oil and gas fields has to import these important fuels. It imports about 33% of the gas and 30% of the oil from Russia. All in all Germany imports about 18% its energy from Russia.

Never forgetting at that that the rest of the oil and gas imports come from western nations, particularly the UK, Norway and the Netherlands.

While Germany's energy dependence from Russia is big and will remain so in the near future it is also kind of blown out of proportion. In the field of oil if worst come Germany could always import from other oil producing countries. The big portion of natural gas is used for heating anyway. "Only" 12% of the produced electricity comes from natural gas. And these are not base load power plants. Base load in Germany is nuclear and brown coal. Natural gas is used for medium load and here Germany can always go round by increasing the use of its hard coal.

Indeed herein lies one of the the main reasons for Germany's perceived ecological drive and renewables, namely energy independence. By 2008 already around 15% of the electricity was produced by renewables and by 2020 the german state has set a target of 30% . Additionally energy efficiency is pushed reducing the needed heating energy and in turn the needed import fuels, further decreasing the dependence from abroad (both western and eastern).

Quote:
What German diplomats call Verflechtung, or strategic interlocking, with Russia has been driven by joint interests. Partnership with Moscow has also coincided with a downturn in relations with Washington. It’s no secret that Angela Merkel and Barack Obama don’t get along well, but the matter extends beyond poor personal chemistry to divergent national priorities.

A major point of disagreement between the two capitals has been how to grapple with the world financial crisis. As the U.S. amasses trillions in debt through stimulus spending- and paves the way for hyperinflation—Obama is encouraging Western partners to follow suit. But the Germans aren’t taking the bait. Merkel and her colleagues share a collective memory of the ruin that postwar debts and fiat currency brought to the Weimar Republic. Answering Obama’s request for substantive European assistance in Afghanistan, Berlin pledged just a few hundred additional troops to its force there. Germany’s reluctance to become further involved in the Afghan counterinsurgency speaks volumes about its lack of confidence in NATO efforts to stabilize the Hindu Kush, as well as the general direction of U.S. “global leadership”.
German capitalists are thrilled that the rest of the world is throwing billions in stimulus spending because this could rejuvenate the export industry.
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Old November 4th, 2010 #4
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Default I wonder what Russia intends to import from Germany, in a couple generations, if...

... demographic change continues at its present pace:

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Old July 17th, 2011 #5
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Quote:
Sunday 17.07.2011 | 13:15

German prize axed over Putin nomination

Source: EuroNews

BERLIN -- A German prize set to be awarded to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has been scrapped amid controversy over his nomination.



The annual Quadriga award is given to people who advance freedom and democratic change. Four prizes were set to be handed out this October.

The organizers’ choice of Putin sparked a media and political outcry.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales resigned from Quadriga’s board in protest.

Critics accuse the Russian prime minister of suppressing human rights during his eight years as president from 2000 to 2008.

Organizers’ spokesperson said earlier this week that Putin had been chosen for his contribution to German-Russian ties.

He enjoys close relations with former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, whom he helped secure a supervisory board position at NordStream AG, a Russian-German energy firm
.

some comments


Compare Putin to Yelstin, Compare him to Gorbachev.

Clearly he has advanced human rights.

But I guess the west only likes servile boot licking Russians who love to violate the rights of their citixens.
(Yaroslav, 17 July 2011 17:50)



I agree fully with Analyst. If Erdogan qualifies for the award (which is laughable and sad), then why not Putin? Putin has done a great deal to advance relations with the West, especially Germany. Erdogan is trying to take Turkey to a pre-Ataturk condition: a new Ottoman Empire.
(Michael, 17 July 2011 18:50)
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Old March 26th, 2014 #6
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German companies worry about sanctions spiral

A new week of Ukraine crisis management has just begun and German companies are nervously following negotiations. Further sanctions against Russia could have serious consequences for foreign investors.



US president Barack Obama has shown himself to be determined and energetic during his European trip. "We are united in imposing a cost on Russia for its actions so far," he said in Amsterdam after meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

According to Obama, the West will impose stronger economic sanctions against Russia. And he seems to be convinced that this approach will work. "Growing sanctions will bring significant consequences to the Russian economy," he said.

But European partners are more skeptical about Obama's plans. After all, they have far more to do with Russia than the United States and further sanctions could have a negative impact on their business. Whether it's the tourism industry in Greece and Cyprus or the financial market in London, Europeans seem a little more reserved when it comes to economic sanctions against Russia.

When capital stops flowing

German companies fear that stronger punitive measures could result in higher costs. And listening to German business executives for the last couple of days, it seems there is much at stake for the German economy.

"We are already feeling the impact of the exchange rate of the ruble," Opel head Karl-Thomas Neumann told German car industry newspaper Automobilwoche. According to Neumann, Russia will have the largest automobile market in 2020.

And others are alarmed as well. "If you campaign for sanctions against Russia in the current debate then you play with fire," said Martin Sonnenschein, a central Europe consultant with management consultants A.T. Kearney. "The consequences for the German economy and society's prosperity would be fatal." According to Sonnenschein, investing in Russia now means taking big risks.

Throughout the Crimea crisis, the European economy has seemed to be walking on eggshells. For now at least, companies exporting to Russia or investing there have lowered their expectations. "2014 was supposed to be a really good investment year for German companies in Russia," said Volker Treier, Deputy General Manager at the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK).

"But now investments are being postponed and some are being thrown in the trash. Capital is flooding out. And even German banks are now categorizing Russia as a risky business partner and giving out fewer credits." Preparing for the worst and hoping for the best seems to be the common approach of foreign companies in Russia.

continue

http://www.dw.de/german-companies-wo...ral/a-17519096
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Old May 9th, 2014 #7
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Germany and Russia

How very understanding


Germany’s ambivalence towards Russia reflects its conflicted identity

May 10th 2014 | BERLIN |

WHEN Germans add the word Versteher (one who understands) to a term, they generally mix flattery with irony. So a Frauenversteher (one who understands women) is usually a man who boasts excessively about his knowledge of the opposite sex. The label is now being attached to so-called Russlandversteher or Putinversteher: members of the elite or intelligentsia who gush with empathy for Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, on talk shows, in journals and at dinner parties.

They include two former Social Democratic chancellors. In the newspaper Die Zeit, Helmut Schmidt said Mr Putin’s annexation of Crimea was not quite “legitimate” but certainly “understandable”. Gerhard Schröder went further and threw himself into Mr Putin’s hug at a party in St Petersburg in late April (ostensibly to mark Mr Schröder’s 70th birthday).

Most Russlandversteher are, like Mr Schmidt and Mr Schröder, on the political left. The Social Democrats believe they have learnt from Ostpolitik, the eastern policy begun by Chancellor Willy Brandt in the 1970s, that when it comes to Russia rapprochement works and confrontation does not. The Left, a party that largely descends from former East German communists, goes further, channelling well-honed anti-American and Russophile instincts and seeing the Ukraine crisis as a natural Russian response to NATO’s expansionism. A Left leader, Katja Kipping, draws in American snooping, attacking Germany’s refusal to interview Edward Snowden, a whistle-blowing ex-contractor for the NSA hiding in Russia. She has called Chancellor Angela Merkel “the USA’s poodle.”

But the right also has Russlandversteher. They include followers of a one-year-old Eurosceptic party called Alternative for Germany, but also some in the mainstream centre-right parties. Philipp Missfelder, a foreign-affairs spokesman for Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats, was with Mr Schröder at the St Petersburg bash (and got an earful for it upon his return). Peter Gauweiler, a senior politician in the Christian Democrats’ Bavarian sister party, often seems more energetic in attacking America and excusing Russia than vice versa.

The boards of Germany’s large companies are also well stocked with Russophiles. In March Joe Kaeser, the boss of Siemens, an industrial conglomerate, met Mr Putin in Moscow and signalled business as usual. Russophilia is widespread among intellectuals, who like to romanticise the Russian soul for being more in tune with spiritual German culture than is the materialistic and utilitarian “Western civilisation” (a woolly contrast made famous by Thomas Mann). Draped over such sentiments is lingering German guilt over the 26m people killed by Germans on the territory of the former Soviet Union during the second world war. And there is a feeling of gratitude that the Soviet Union acceded graciously to German unification.

Critics of the Russlandversteher are scathing. One German historian of Eastern Europe, Karl Schlögel, calls German Russophilia a “mixture of sentimentality, nostalgia, cowardice and kitsch.” Another historian, Heinrich August Winkler, has attacked the Russlandversteher for standing in a long and nasty tradition of Russo-German co-operation (most egregiously seen in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939), given that what they are excusing in Mr Putin is a mixture of neo-tsarist aggression and ethnic nationalism. This is also why other countries in eastern Europe that were victims of both the Nazis and the Soviets, such as Poland, are so worried by Germany’s ambivalence.

Sonja Margolina, a Russian author and historian living in Germany who is married to Mr Schlögel, espies a propaganda campaign by Mr Putin aimed at dividing Germany from the West. Indeed, quite a few Russlandversteher are, directly or indirectly, in Mr Putin’s pocket (Mr Schröder, for example, is on the board of a gas-pipeline company controlled by Gazprom, Russia’s energy giant.) The Russophiles also seem to have bought Mr Putin’s narrative that it is Ukraine, not Russia, that is showing proto-fascist tendencies.

Mrs Merkel, with her habitual reserve, has taken no clear stand but is believed to sympathise with the more robust American view of Mr Putin. Her foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, is a Social Democrat and former protégé of Mr Schröder’s, and thus closer to the Russlandversteher. But even he seems to have grasped that Ostpolitik now looks naive and risks undermining Germany’s transatlantic and European alliances. Voices on both the right and the left (mainly in the Green party) back a tougher line on Russia.

However, both Mrs Merkel and Mr Steinmeier also have German public opinion to contend with. And here recent polls show the extent of German ambivalence. One finds a majority opposing sanctions on Russia. In another, almost half of Germans yearn for a middle way between Russia and the West, with a clear majority in eastern Germany in favour of this.

This German self-identification as in some sense equidistant between the West, particularly America, and the East, especially Russia, has a long tradition. Historians refer to its 19th-century version as the Sonderweg (special path). West Germany’s first post-war chancellors, Konrad Adenauer and Ludwig Erhard, tried to end the ambiguity by anchoring the new country firmly in western Europe and the Atlantic alliance, as it still is. Yet since Ostpolitik in the 1970s and reunification in 1990 the earlier sentiment has returned.

“Germany has never figured out whether it wants to be part of the West,” says John Kornblum, a former American ambassador to Germany who is now a lawyer in Berlin. Within Europe, he argues that “the Germans are the strongest, but are totally without a strategic sense. At the moment, they are almost as dangerous as the Russians.” Ulrich Speck at Carnegie Europe, a think-tank in Brussels, sees the danger as a drift away from Germany’s Western identity and its strategic bond with America. “The more America confronts Russia to defend the principles of international order,” he says, “the more Germany will distance itself from America.” For Europe, as for Germany itself, any such shift would be disastrous.

http://www.economist.com/news/europe...-understanding
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Old July 2nd, 2014 #8
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From some years ago
Manfred_Roeder Manfred_Roeder
in Russia

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Old July 24th, 2014 #9
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The Boomerang Effect: Sanctions on Russia Hit German Economy Hard

By Matthias Schepp and Cornelia Schmergal



Companies like oil producer Rosneft -- here, a Rosneft drill site in eastern Siberia -- have been slapped with US sanctions. That has created problems for German companies.


The United States and Europe last week announced the imposition of stronger sanctions against Russia in response to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. German industry may be among the losers.

It wasn't that long ago that Kremlin officials could hardly avoid laughing when asked about the economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the West. As long as every NATO member state jealously sought to protect its own business interests, things "weren't all that bad," they gloated.

But since last week, their moods have darkened. For months, the European Union in particular had been reluctant to enact effective penalties against Moscow. Last Wednesday, though, the 28 EU heads of state and government cleared a psychological hurdle: For the first time, they opted go beyond sanctions targeting individual political leaders in Moscow, adding prohibitions against doing business with specific Russian companies that contribute to the destabilization of the situation in Ukraine. A concrete list is to be presented by the end of the month. European development banks have also been banned from providing loans to Russian companies.

The US, for its part, penalized a dozen leading Russian conglomerates, including oil giant Rosneft, natural gas producer Novatek, Gazprombank and the weapons manufacturer Kalashnikov. From now on, they are forbidden from borrowing money from American monetary institutions and from issuing medium- and long-term debt to investors with ties to the US.

For the companies involved, the penalties are a significant blow. It has become difficult to acquire capital in Russia itself, with both domestic and foreign investors withdrawing their money from the country in recent months. It is hardly surprising, then, that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev spoke of a return to the Cold War and President Vladimir Putin warned that sanctions "usually have a boomerang effect."

Even prior to the sanctions, the Russian economy had been struggling. Now, though, the Ukraine crisis is beginning to make itself felt in Germany as well. German industry's Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations believes that the crisis could endanger up to 25,000 jobs in Germany. Were a broad recession to befall Russia, German growth could sink by 0.5 percent, according to a Deutsche Bank study.

Significant Risks

The most recent US sanctions, warns Eckhard Cordes, head of the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, have placed an additional strain "on the general investment climate." Particularly, he adds, because European companies have to conform to the American penalties. or Europeans can just exterminate the jews and problem solved.

By last Thursday, just a day after the US sanctions were announced, the German-Russian Foreign Trade Office in Moscow was besieged by phone calls from concerned German companies who do business with both the US and Russia. The German Chambers of Commerce and Industry estimate that up to a quarter of German companies that do business abroad could be affected. And the risks are significant, with large fines threatening those who violate the American sanctions, whether knowingly or not. how about just exterminating the kikes? Sounds like a good plan to me.

Stefan Fittkau, who heads the Moscow office of EagleBurgmann, the Bavaria-based industrial sealing specialists, says company sales have already plunged by 30 percent. "Orders have been cancelled or delayed -- or we simply don't receive them anymore," he says. Novatek, Russia's second largest natural gas company, for example, had hired EagleBurgmann to take care of seals at a vast liquefied natural gas facility on the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia. Now, though, doing business with Novatek is no longer allowed.

Radical Steps

The inclusion of Rosneft on the list also affects more than a dozen German companies: The construction firm Bilfinger maintains facilities for Rosneft, for example, while Siemens received a €90 million contract to supply turbines and generators. "In the end, both sides, the Russians and the Europeans, will lose," but jews will win says Frank Schauff, head of the Association of European Businesses in Moscow.

Already, the uneasiness can be seen in the Ifo Business Climate Index. One in three of the companies surveyed at the end of June said it expected adverse effects. "Russian customers have begun looking for suppliers outside of Europe," says Ulrich Ackermann, a foreign trade expert with the German engineering association VDMA. "They are concerned that European companies, because of the threat of increased sanctions, won't be able to deliver."

Even prior to the latest sanctions, business has been slowing in almost all sectors. The Düsseldorf-based energy giant E.on, for example, recently built power stations in Russia worth €9 billion. Most of the generators are already online, but because the economy in Russia is suffering, the returns are much lower than forecast. Volkswagen is a further example. The carmaker's sales figures for 2014 are 10 percent lower than they were last year. Opel's figures dropped by 12 percent during the first five months of the year.

Already, Opel has been forced to take a radical step. In St. Petersburg, where the Astra is manufactured, the company shut down the assembly lines recently for several weeks.

Translated from the German by Charles Hawley

http://www.spiegel.de/international/...-a-982075.html
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Last edited by Serbian; July 24th, 2014 at 12:16 AM.
 
Old August 3rd, 2014 #10
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Germany is in favour of tough Russia sanctions, despite cost


August 4, 2014, 2:27am

German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel yesterday said that tough economic sanctions against Russia were necessary despite them likely to hurt his country’s economy.

The EU imposed sanctions on Russia’s banking, defence and energy sectors because its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Despite extensive trade ties with Russia, Chancellor Angela Merkel is a firm advocate of the tougher sanctions after Malaysian Airline MH17 was downed by over Ukraine.

“What would happen if the EU didn't react?” Gabriel, who is also Germany’s economy minister and head of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), told the ZDF TV channel.

“If all the lessons learned in Europe are that someone can start a civil war in a neighbouring country and nothing happens, then it would cost a lot more than a few percent*age points of possible growth.”


http://www.cityam.com/1407115647/ger...s-despite-cost
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Old August 4th, 2014 #11
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The West is tightening the financial screws on Moscow, but German companies are already feeling the kickback of a slowing Russian economy and weakening ruble.

Russia is Europe’s third-largest trading partner, so a spluttering Russian economy, exacerbated by the Ukraine crisis, is seriously affecting German companies. In 2013, Germany exported 36 billion euro worth of goods to Russia.

A higher value ruble and inflation risk consumer spending in the region, and are cutting German involvement in the market accordingly.

German sports retailer Adidas lowered financial targets for the next two years, citing conditions in Russia as a major stumbling block.

“The recent trend change in the Russian ruble as well as increasing risks to consumer sentiment and consumer spending from current tensions in the region point to higher risks to the short-term profitability contribution from Russia/CIS,” the company’s financial outlook said.

In response, Adidas says it will speed-up efforts to close stores in the Russian and CIS markets in 2014 and 2015, as well as reduce inventory in the marketplace.

http://rt.com/business/177252-russia...many-business/
 
Old April 18th, 2015 #12
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Quote:
Washington's Friends in Germany Trying to Cut Russia Ties

Germany's current leaders are more interested in pleasing Washington than in pursuing German interests


Christoph Germann


German farmers are angry, and with good reason. They have suffered roughly 600 million euros in losses in 2014 after Russia banned food imports from the European Union in response to Western sanctions over Ukraine.
But given that Germany and Russia maintain very close economic ties, German farmers are of course not the only ones affected by the new Cold War.

About 6,200 German companies operate in Russia with investments totaling 20 billion euros. According to the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, 300,000 German jobs depend on trade with Russia. This prompted the committee’s head Eckard Cordes to calculate that 60,000 jobs could be lost if German exports to Russia drop even more this year after they fell nearly 20 percent in 2014.

The Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations is a joint organization of the leading associations representing German business. It is supported, among others, by the influential Federation of German Industries (BDI).

Therefore, it was even more remarkable when the head of the BDI, Ulrich Grillo, recently wrote a letter to 1,000 company and association representatives, urging them to stop expressing sympathy for “regimes” such as Russia and China.

Grillo argued that economic considerations have to take a back seat in the conflict with Putin. Instead of supporting Russia, German companies should make a greater contribution to stabilizing the European Union and strengthening transatlantic ties with the United States.

In Grillo’s opinion, that is why it is very important to sign the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) - despite all the criticism. Never mind that the free trade agreement faces stronger opposition in Germany than in any other country. The BDI head attributes this to the “dangerous ignorance” of Germany’s TTIP opponents.

Many Germans are probably too “ignorant” to understand that Grillo doesn’t have any bad intentions. His affinity to pro-transatlantic groups and organizations has certainly nothing to do with his TTIP promotion tour or his attempt to cut Germany’s economic ties with Russia.

Coincidentally, cutting ties with Russia has become the top priority of Washington’s friends in Germany in recent months. The shake-up of the Petersburg Dialogue, a biannual meeting of politicians, businessmen and civil society representatives from Russia and Germany, is a prime example of this trend.

Last year’s meeting of the Petersburg Dialogue in Sochi was adjourned indefinitely after German “non-governmental” organizations refused to attend the meeting due to the Ukraine crisis. Shortly thereafter, Germany’s Chancellery and Foreign Ministry endorsed a paper calling for “reforming” the discussion forum.


The paper was written by ruling party MP Andreas Schockenhoff, who had constantly argued for changing Germany’s policy towards Russia, rabid Russophobe Marieluise Beck, who is an ardent supporter of the Ukrainian regime, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, which is led by Beck’s husband, and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, which helped to organize the coup d’état in Kiev.

Their main objective was to replace the “pro-Russian” head of the Petersburg Dialogue, Lothar de Maizière, to enable more “critical examination of Russian policies.”

Other key points proposed by Schockenhoff, Beck & Co. included cutting the connection to the German-Russian Forum and reducing the influence of Matthias Platzeck, who leads the German-Russian Forum.

Platzeck was heavily criticized by German media and politicians for his plea to recognize Russia’s “annexation” of Crimea. Nearly 40 percent of Germans agree with him but Chancellor Angela Merkel is not one of them.

A few days after Platzeck made this plea, the Petersburg Dialogue reform paper hit the headlines and Der Spiegel reported that Merkel had taken matters into her own hands. She reportedly convinced Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to agree to the “reform” and sideline Platzeck.
But the German Chancellor was not finished.

After several months of tug-of-war between the Chancellery and the Foreign Ministry - between Russia critics and so-called Russland-Versteher (Russia sympathizers) - Merkel emerged again victorious. She got her way and decided to replace Lothar de Maizière with her confidant and former Chief of Staff Ronald Pofalla.
Pofalla is probably best known for his desperate attempts to sweep the NSA spying scandal under the rug.

By replacing the pro-Russian de Maizière with the pro-American Pofalla, Merkel is sending a clear signal to Moscow and Washington.

As previously discussed, the diplomatic offensive of the German Chancellor in Minsk cannot hide the fact that she has been doing Washington’s bidding throughout the crisis. This has earned her high praise from the likes of Bernard-Henri Lévy and George Soros, who lauded Merkel for “acting like a true European politician instead of pursuing narrow German interests.” Linder is 100% correct, extermination is the only solution When asked what he appreciates about Merkel‘s Ostpolitik, Soros pointed out that “without Merkel there would be no sanctions against Russia.”

Soros is right. All three living former German Chancellors – Helmut Schmidt, Helmut Kohl and Gerhard Schröder - have criticized Merkel’s policy and spoken out against the sanctions, to no avail.

Recent developments suggest that Washington’s friends in Germany are trying to get full control over the country’s Ostpolitik, which bodes ill for relations with Russia.

As long as the German people tolerate leaders who are more interested in pleasing Washington than in pursuing German interests, it is going to be very difficult to find a solution to the Ukraine crisis and stop the new Cold War
.

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Old July 26th, 2015 #13
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Elder German Statesmen Urge Berlin to Restore Russia Relations

•Egon Bahr was the architect of Ostpolitik - the famous and wildly praised policy of rapprochment between western and eastern Germany in the 1970s - he is a big deal in Germany

•He and the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev - who ended the original Cold War with Ronald Reagan - met in Moscow and called for a new German-Russian rapprochment - Ostpolik 2.0

•Meanwhile another notable former German politician has just published a book stating the case and the need for such a policy

•Merkel persists on her path against the advice of a growing number of present and former top German politicians

Christoph Germann


Two peacemakers: German Bahr and Russian Gorbachev

During his first trip to Moscow in 1987, influential German politician and long-time Bavarian Minister President Franz Josef Strauss used the metaphor of “the Bavarian lion and the Russian bear peacefully browsing in a meadow” to describe his vision of future German-Russian relations.

When Strauss met with Mikhail Gorbachev, both men agreed that peaceful and good relations between Germany and Russia are of the utmost importance for the people of both countries and the political future.

The talks with Gorbachev and Strauss’ vision have left a lasting impression on German journalist and politician Wilfried Scharnagl, who was a close friend of Strauss and accompanied him to Moscow in 1987.

Last Tuesday, Scharnagl returned once again to the Russian capital to present his new book “Am Abgrund,” in which he makes the case for changing Western policy toward Russia. He blames the Ukraine crisis on Washington and calls on the West to accept Russia as an equal partner.

Gorbachev wrote the foreword for Scharnagl’s book and shares many of his views, as he has repeatedly pointed out in recent months. The former Soviet leader used the book presentation again to urge Western leaders to restore ties with Russia instead of trying to provoke it.

In particular, the deterioration of Russia’s relationship with Germany worries Gorbachev and he emphasized that “we [Russia and Germany] must restore and recover what we once had.”


Scharnagl’s book

This message was echoed by German politician Egon Bahr, who played an important part in easing tensions between East and West during the Cold War when he created West Germany’s Ostpolitik.

Bahr sees many parallels between the current crisis and the Cold War. That is why he argues for introducing German Ostpolitik 2.0. Gorbachev agrees with him. During the event on Moscow, both elder statesmen called on the German government to take the lead in restoring relations between Russia and the West.

Germany plays a decisive role in the new Cold War against Russia. If Berlin stopped supporting Washington’s Russian campaign, the conflict would be over in next to no time.

But Chancellor Angela Merkel and the powerful Atlanticists in Germany have other ideas. The difference between Merkel’s Ostpolitik and West Germany’s Ostpolitik, which was conceived by Egon Bahr and promoted by Willy Brandt, is striking. When George Soros was asked what he appreciates about Merkel’s Ostpolitik, he simply pointed out that “without Merkel there would be no sanctions against Russia.”

If Berlin continues with Merkel’s Ostpolitk instead of listening to Bahr and Gorbachev, the new Cold War won’t end anytime soon and Soros will have even more reason to celebrate.


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Old November 23rd, 2015 #14
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Warsaw and Brussels attempting to interfere in German Russian relations


Quote:
Brussels Alarmed as Germany and Russia “Conspire to Dodge EU Energy Rules”

Poland doesn’t like the Nord Stream 2 project one bit and neither does Brussels

Christoph Germann


Putin and Gabriel consolidate their joint sovereignty vis avis the EU

Europe’s dependence on Russian gas has long been a thorn in the side of the United States and some European countries.

In order to free Europe from Gazprom’s “stranglehold,” Washington and Brussels have been promoting the Southern Gas Corridor and sabotaging new Russian projects.

The South Stream saga demonstrated that the U.S. and the European Commission (EC) will go to great lengths to lessen Russia’s influence over European energy markets, even if that means putting Europe’s energy security at risk.

Last Wednesday, EU Energy Commissioner Maros Sefcovic pointed out that EU member states lacked sufficient alternatives to Russian gas supplies and called for “an urgent political push” for closer cooperation in the energy sphere.

Brussels’ efforts to construct an “Energy Union” have been hampered by differing interests of the various member states. For example, Poland wants to continue investing in coal, while Germany and several European companies plan to expand the Nord Stream pipeline to bring more Russian gas to Europe.

This has drawn harsh criticism from Poland and some other countries. After lamenting that the planned expansion of Nord Stream hurts EU unity, Poland recently called on Brussels to ban the project.

Sefcovic stressed during his state of the energy union address on Wednesday that the European Commission will scrutinize whether the Nord Stream plan complies with EU rules.

Berlin and Moscow had already seen it coming. That is why they “are effectively conspiring to dodge the EU's energy rules.”

Last month, German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss Syria and Ukraine as well as the Nord Stream 2 project.

Gabriel stressed the importance of the Nord Stream expansion and assured Putin that the German government will do its best to limit the possibility of “external meddling” and “political interference” in the project:


“Mr Miller [Deputy Chairman of Gazprom] and Mr Matthias Warnig [CEO of Nord Stream] will continue to pursue Nord Stream 2 project. This is in our interests; but it is not just in Germany’s interests – it is a very interesting project even beyond Germany’s borders.

If we can ensure that it remains in German hands, opportunities for external meddling will be limited, and we are on track to do so.

To limit political meddling - which is not just a formality – we need to settle the issue of Ukraine’s role as a transit nation after 2019. given that its gas transportation system is not in very good condition, not to mention the Ukraine’s financial and political role.

I believe we can handle this if German agencies maintain authority over these issues,l limiting the possibility of political interference in this project.”


Brussels seems to have other ideas.
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Old November 27th, 2015 #15
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Russian Ambassador: Russia Does Not Want a New Empire

Moscow's ambassador to Berlin explains the Eurasian Union has nothing to do with 'reviving' an empire or the USSR

(German Economic News)


Ambassador Wladimir M. Grinin: It's about trade, not politics


Originally Appeared at German Economic News. Translated from the German by Werner Schrimpf

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Russia’s Ambassador to Germany, Wladimir M. Grinin, suggests a common economic and trade zone by the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union. Moscow is not interested in erecting a new Russian Empire; rather, it wants to improve relations to Europe. Grinin rejects ideas of a single state dominance, but favors the mutual respect of various interests.

Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten: What is the impact of current EU sanctions on Russian corporations in Germany?

Wladimir M. Grinin: Before coming to details, I want to stress that the overwhelming damage of the EU sanction regime is the loss of mutual confidence among partners. Within months, the EU has destroyed the result of decades of hard work and effort on the part of our predecessors. In the past, Russia and Germany achieved a strategic level in this partnership, which manifested in a trade volume of 80 billion euros in 2012. Unfortunately, this positive and sustainable development was disturbed by worrying EU activities.

As you mentioned correctly, this negative impact hurts both parties – Russia and Germany. Just to bring up some examples: we didn’t see any single Greenfield project by Russian investors in Germany in 2015. And one should bear in mind that Russia represents – just after Switzerland – the second largest investor for these types of projects in Germany. Between 2008 and 2013, 63 projects of this type were initiated. The EU sanctions halted a positive development which could be experienced up to the year 2014.

Another example: in the course of our Russian-German partnership for development and modernization, a huge community of experts and consultants grew in Germany. These people are more or less unemployed today. In Hamburg, trade volume with Russia decreased by a record figure of 7.8 percent. The Hamburg-Russian economic council was forced to ask German government for compensation, for damages caused by the EU sanctions.

Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten: What problems can German businesses expect, currently?

Wladimir M. Grinin: The problems can be easily recognized when reading German statistics. In 2014, German exports to Russia declined dramatically – by 18.1 percent or 6.5 billion euros. In absolute figures – the volume of German goods and services sold to Russia totaled 29.3 billion euros in 2014, compared to 35.8 billion euros in 2013. Trade volume between Russia and Germany for the year 2014 decreased by 12.09 percent to 67.7 billion euros, compared to 77.03 billion euros in 2013. From January to February 2015, German exports to Russia declined by another record figure of 34 percent.

Major branches of the German economy like machine engineering and car manufacturing were hit hardest. According to the data provided by the Union of European Economy, German car manufacturers had to accept a loss of 18 percent in cars sales to Russia, or 128.000 units, compared to the previous year. German companies operating in Russia are delaying projects and projections, and cutting the work force in Russia and in Germany. Polls among German decision makers show an increasing tendency to leave the Russian market. Nevertheless, just 3 percent of the enterprises engaged in Russia today took this last step and finally left the market, according to data from Russian commerce and registration authorities. The total number of German enterprises currently active in Russia has declined to a figure of 6,000.

According to results of recent polls among German businesses, three major steps would be necessary in order to improve German-Russian economic relations: first, to suspend EU sanctions; secondly, to stabilize and further reform the Russian economy; and finally, to make decisions in order to create a common economic and trade zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

Of course, Russia has now intensified its efforts to substitute imports with domestic products. A lot of efforts have been made to push towards domestic enterprises and entrepreneurs. This is a quite natural evolution, but it has obviously been accelerated by the EU sanctions. We do not intend at all to oust foreign companies from the Russian market. Quite the contrary is true. We do our best to create favorable conditions for foreign companies, especially those from Germany’s high tech sector. Let me mention new and innovative Russian public funds to support capital expenditures. Despite silly and false rumors spread in Germany, telling about Moscow’s plans to nationalize foreign assets, the Russian government is even prepared to guarantee the sacrosanct character of foreign capital expenditures in Russia. Conditions are worse for companies running their Russian businesses just from their home base in Germany. It is not a secret that German authorities create hurdles and obstacles; i.e., examining and inspecting export contracts are extra intense and extra time-consuming. The slightest suspicions of a potential “dual use”-character of goods to be delivered will knock out the respective contract and might lead to criminal prosecution to the supplier.

Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten: What would be appropriate sources of information for German companies?

Wladimir M. Grinin: Your question makes absolutely sense. When just using German media, it is in fact difficult to get reasonable data and information about Russia’s economy and prospects concerning a potential cooperation. There is a campaign going on in German mainstream media to paint a gloomy picture of Russia and to demonstrate how unreliable Russia would be as a business partner. To mention an example, just the other day there was a cartoon printed in a German economic newspaper showing a crashing plane as symbol for Russian descending economy. Shown in this cartoon were German business people trying to leave the broken plane, but becoming aware that they did not have a parachute. To be honest, these journalistic practices seem rather odd to me.

To improve this situation, we are steadily organizing meetings with German business people in our embassies. Our representatives participate on a variety of events which are organized by German business associations. You will find current and day-to-day information about Russia at web sites of our embassies, the trade and economic office of Russian Federation in Germany, and the offices of the chamber of trade and industry of the Russian Federation. For detailed data concerning investment opportunities in Russia, please visit the web site at Russia’s agency for investments (www.invest-rf.com). St. Petersburg’s office for trade and economy is organizing meetings with German business representatives on a regular basis. Russian regions; i.e., Moscow’s local government, are running web sites for potential investors in the English language. A comprehensive information and database for all aspects of the Russian economy will be provided by the German-Russia chamber of foreign trade and committee for eastern businesses of the German business association. Additional information can be gathered from the German language branch of the TV station Russia Today.

Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten: What benefits would you expect from a potential Eurasian Economic Union?

Wladimir M. Grinin: The agreements concerning the Eurasian Economic Union became effective on the 1st of January, 2015. The objective was to create an intense and comprehensive economic partnership among independent states – Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia. Kyrgyzstan is expected to follow later on. This model is anything but a revival of a Russian Empire, which is alleged by some critics here in Germany. The purpose of this union is to provide and support economic growth, increase of wealth, and to improve modernization and global competitiveness of member states’ economies.

In the process of establishing this economic union, we took into account our own experiences when integrating economic processes; that is, the GUS, the Eurasian Economic Union, the union on tariffs and customs, and additionally, the best international practices derived from the EU and WTO. A precondition of this Eurasian Economic Union is a deep and comprehensive relationship between founder states and future member states in terms of economy, social and humanitarian standards, and historical and cultural ties. If we have a look at the Ukrainian case, where our western partner requested a strict “either-or” decision from the Ukrainian government whether to join EU or Eurasian Economic Union, we can see what has been destroyed in an attempt to cut traditional grown economic and historic ties between Ukraine and Russia. We are convinced that both models – EU and Eurasian Economic Union – do not compete against each other, but would form an ideal complement.

The advantages for German corporations interested in cooperating with Eurasian Economic Union are apparent. The German economy would get access to a huge market comprising of approx. 180 million consumers with free trade and free exchange of products, services, capital and labor force. The Eurasian Economic Union ensures common and transparent standards for investments and a standardized sphere of customs and tariffs.

Some partner states are interested in making use of the advantages of this Economic Union starting today. Various preferred partner agreements have been drafted and filed. A potential agreement concerning a free trade area with Vietnam has reached the final stage and should be signed soon. Similar talks are going on with Israel, India, and Egypt.

To put it in different words, when creating this Eurasian Economic Union, it was not our intention to separate from other states and unions. We are following an integrative and proactive agenda. We do not insist on creating an exclusive circle and we will respect economic interests of other states and vice versa. We are expecting that our interests will be obeyed in terms of international trade and economic exchange.

The Eurasian Economic Union is prepared to establish a common economic and humanitarian zone together with EU. All necessary steps have been taken based on WTO standards. We would be glad if the EU could agree on this concept. The issue was addressed during the 3rd East Forum in Berlin on the 22nd of April this year, and Chancellor Mrs. Merkel as well as Vice Chancellor Mr. Sigmar Gabriel showed basically a positive attitude towards the project.

Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten: What is the main focus of Russia when cooperating with Germany in the area of energy supplies?

Wladimir M. Grinin: For us it is important to ensure and to understand that Germany remains a reliable partner and customer for Russian energy supplies. In Germany, there is an ongoing discussion about the future role of natural gas in the energy mix of this country. It showed that long term supplier Gazprom has become a pawn in the hands of politicians. Interested parties are trying to discredit Gazprom as unreliable and unpredictable. Brussels adopts a policy of double standards towards Gazprom which became visible during the implementation of the 3rd energy agreements. Unfortunately, the EU still follows this strategy, and on the 22nd of April, 2015, European Commission accused Gazprom of unfair competition in Eastern Europe. Gazprom rejected all these charges.

Nevertheless, we are still prepared to continue and enhance cooperation in the field of energy with Germany and EU, and to continue cooperation with German energy groups under the condition that trade and economy are not misused for political reasons. With respect to Germany and its planned energy transition – the so-called “Energiewende” – natural gas will continue to play an important role in any future energy mix. A development path towards a post carbon future without the usage of natural gas is hard to imagine.

In this context, I would like to stress that long term cooperation in the area of energy between Europe and Russia will be supported on all political levels. Russia is and will remain a safe and reliable supplier of these important commodities.

On the other hand, we have to bear in mind the constraints in the field of energy production. Exploration of natural gas requires huge capital expenditures and a long term time schedule in order to secure invested funds. We are confused by an ongoing discussion and demands for a unified standard prize for natural gas and the alleged necessity to reduce dependency from Russian supplies.

Concerning the common decision of Gazprom and the German group BASF to postpone a planned swap deal of enterprise shares, which was described as a change of the Gazprom strategy in German public discussions, I have to assure you that this decision had nothing to do with politics. This deal had been already approved by authorities of both countries and the European Commission. However, intense internal discussion brought the management of Gazprom to the conclusion to skip a strategy of attaining direct access to end customers. In the same context, one can see the decision of Gazprom to divest its shareholding in “Leipziger Verbundnetz Gas,” a gas supplier in Eastern Germany.


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Old December 21st, 2015 #16
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German Business Sharply Protests EU Sanctions Against Russia

Germany has already lost 6.5 billion euros in trade in 2014, and is expected to lost another 8.5 billion in 2015

(German Economic News)


Despite protests from German businesses, Merkel pushes for new sanctions


Originally Appeared at German Economic News. Translated from the German by Susan Neumann


The Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations has used unusually strong wording to protest against the EU’s extension of sanctions against Russia. The Committee praises Russia and and at the same time, puts an end to the fairytail that trade with Ukraine could compensate for the losses incurred with Russia.

Today and tomorrow (19, 20 December), representatives of the 28 EU member countries will come together to decide, among other things, another six-month extension of the economic sanctions against Russia. The Chairman of the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, Eckhard Cordes, spoke on this topic as well as the planned January 1st implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA).


"After suffering a loss of 6.5 billion euros in 2014, German exports to Russia will be expected to decline another 8.5 billion euros in 2015. Even considering the trade with Ukraine and other countries in the region, we will continue to see massive losses.

Even if the mutual sanctions have only partly been the cause of this dramatic development, it’s clearly obvious that in the interests of all sides, we urgently need to begin implementing an exit strategy for the sanctions.

We hoped that the leaders of EU countries would display more courage to start a rapprochement with Russia, which in recent months sent signals on de-escalation [related to EU-Russia ties]. It’s disappointing how the sanctions of the EU will now be extended for another six months without any debate. Again, the opportunity to reach out to Russia and return to a more positive dynamic in our mutual relations has been lost. The existing sanctions weaken liberal positions in Russia and the population gathers behind the politics of the Kremlin, despite existing reform deficits, as evidenced by recent surveys.

It’s completely overlooked that Kiev must also make a decisive contribution in implementing the Minsk Agreement, such as undertaking constitutional reforms. We’ve unfortunately seen no progress in this arena.

It wouldn’t be in the interest of Ukraine’s economic development if the relationship between Russia and the EU were to improve. The compensation of increased trade with the EU that could make up for the massive losses incurred in Ukraine-Russia trade will not happen for years to come. Concerning its exports with Germany, the Ukraine reached only a weak increase of EUR 50 million (+3 percent) in September, 2015. The Ukrainian exports to the EU as a whole will also continue to decline in 2015, despite the preferential granting of trade privileges.

It’s currently feared that the complete implementation of DCFTA on January 1 will further exacerbate the existing trade conflict with Russia. The rounds of trilateral trade talks between the EU, Ukraine, and Russia, which were supposed to focus on developing solutions for easing Moscow’s concerns, are in the process of failing.

We therefore welcome the initiative of the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who wants to use the trilateral negotiations to push for closer economic cooperation with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC). The German Federal Government must do everything it can to win back the support obviously missing from the EU partners and the [European] Commission.

A renewed escalation of the Ukraine conflict after the implementation of DCFTA on January 1 must be avoided at all costs. An escalation would increase the already existing uncertainty that has plagued investment in the region. The Ukraine and the EU need access to Russian markets in order to improve their economies."



Dr. Eckhard Cordes is Chairman of the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations until December 31, 2015. This post will be taken over by Wolfgang Büchele, Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG, on January 1, 2016.

The Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations was founded in 1952 as the first regional initiative of the German economy. The Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations represents the German economy in bilateral fora and annually performs a variety of informative events, business trips and conferences in over 21 countries. The organization is based in Berlin and sees itself as a center of competence, representing the German economy for EECA future markets. The Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations is supported by five major business organizations and 220 member companies.

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Old January 30th, 2016 #17
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Alexander Orshulevich (BARS) to Pegida demonstration in Dresden


Published on Jan 27, 2016

The head of the Baltic Crusade Russian Resistance (BARS) Orshulevich Alexander, at the invitation of the German supporters of right-wing organizations Thuringia and Saxony, took part in another demonstration PEGIDA nationalists held this Monday, January 25, 2016, in the center of Dresden. The action was attended by up to 10 thousand inhabitants of the city and its visitors.


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Old February 5th, 2016 #18
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Bavaria's Prime Minister Seehofer Defends His Visit to Moscow



'We are surrounded by many, many political hot spots that can’t be extinguished without Moscow...sanctions won’t solve a lot of the problems that are around the globe'


Horst Seehofer on his current visit to Moscow


Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer has rejected criticism of his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to Seehofer, he’s not promoting any parallel foreign policy.

The purpose of the visit is Bavaria, which has always had good economic relations with Moscow. These relations have always been of great importance and they will continue to be important in the near future.

The meeting with Putin in Moscow is scheduled for next Thursday. In an interview with ZDF, Seehofer pointed out that his state has always had good traditional relations with Russia and especially with Moscow. The Prime Minister also emphasized that Bavaria and Moscow share broad-based economic ties. Seehofer also added that it’s advisable to maintain a dialogue with Russia. After all, the German Federal Government does this.

"We are surrounded by many, many political hot spots that can’t be extinguished without Moscow," Seehofer said. He also expressed the hope that sanctions imposed on Russia be gradually eased or lifted entirely. "Because sanctions won’t solve a lot of the problems that are around the globe"

Seehofer reiterated that most of the discussion will particularly revolve around the economic relations between Russia and Bavaria. The CSU party leader told ZDF, "We’re not exercising any parallel political strategies in Germany," while adding that the trip had been meticulously prepared in advance.

Seehofer also stated that he had discussed everything with Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel. "The idea of going at all was also discussed with Chancellor." The goal is "that we make a little progress.” The current global political situation calls for international cooperation.

Bavaria's Deputy Minister-President Ilse Aigner defended Seehofer’s visit to see Vladimir Putin in her interview with Die Welt. Especially in difficult times, it should be a priority to talk with one another — that includes talking about economic interests.

"At any rate, the Prime Minister’s visit is important — especially for Bavaria. The purpose of the visit is to maintain what have always been good relations between the State of Bavaria and Russia, even during a difficult time period. There are about 1,700 Bavarian companies in Russia. And there’s the partnership between Bavaria and the city of Moscow. It is important to keep an open channel of communication."

The Deputy Minister-President also put to question the effectiveness of the sanctions. "The Russians are apparently tough in the face of adversity and President Putin doesn’t appear to be weak in his giant country," said Aigner.



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Old February 8th, 2016 #19
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Austrian Vice Chancellor, Head of Raiffeisen Decry Sanctions in Moscow


Fresh on the heals of the controversial visit of Bavaria's prime minister, who opposes sanctions, to meet with Putin, the Vice Chancellor of Austria and Head of Austria's major bank, Raiffeisen, have come to Moscow with the same message


Austria’s Federal Minister of the Economy and Vice Chancellor, Mr. Reinhold Mitterlehner


Originally Appeared at Sputnik Deutschland. Translated from the German from Werner Schrimpf


During his visit with Moscow, Austria’s Federal Minister of the Economy and Vice Chancellor, Mr. Reinhold Mitterlehner, discussed flawed trade relations between both countries due to the EU sanctions against Russia.

Prior to his visit, die vice chancellor explained that unless the economic relations between both countries are revitalized, up to 40,000 Austrian citizens may lose their jobs– Mr. Mitterlehner expressed a “very critical opinion” of the sanctions. Approximately 1,200 Austrian businesses are operating in Russia and more than 500 own local branches there.

Within the framework of the conference of the Austrian-Russian commission for trade and economic cooperation, Mr. Mitterlehner agreed to foster a “partnership of modernization” for both countries. This partnership comprises 26 projects with an aggregated volume of capital expenditures of 4 billion euros, according to reports from the state TV station ORF.

During his meeting with Mr. Mitterlehner, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Kozak, stated that EU-sanctions are a “dead end” – Europe’s economy is suffering a combined loss of 50 billion euros.

“The business community is tired of sanctions and counter sanctions,“ Mr. Mitterlehner confirmed. These sanctions haven’t contributed to any political progress. “On the contrary, they’ve caused massive economic damages to both sides,” Mr. Mitterlehner added.

Mr. Walter Rothensteiner, boss of the influential banking group „Raiffeisen,“ who accompanied Austria’s vice chancellor and his delegation, explained to Austria’s newspaper “Kurier” that “Sanctions should be lifted as soon as possible. Sanctions are harmful for Austria, as well as for the Russians. Agriculture and industry are suffering.”

Relations between Russia and the West have been deteriorating since the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis. EU and the U.S. first started with sanctions against individuals and later they extended sanctions to whole branches of Russia’s economy. As a counter measure, Russia imposed a ban on food from countries which had joined in sanctions against Russia – the U.S., EU-countries, Canada, Australia and Norway.

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Old May 2nd, 2016 #20
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Quote:
Senior Conservative German Politician Blasts Media for Russia-Bashing (Willy Wimmer)


A blistering speech by Wimmer, a former Merkel ally from Dusseldorf who carries considerable weight in German public opinion


Willy Wimmer Subscribe to Willy Wimmer

(Die Propagandaschau) Subscribe to Die Propagandaschau

Originally Appeared at the German site Die Propagandaschau (the Propaganda Show). Translated from the German by Susan Neumann.


German public opinion is steadily becoming hostile to US foreign policy


For more than two years now, an anti-Russia campaign has been waged in all of the transatlantic mainstream media, and has reverberated through all of the topics being talked about.

Just like in Goebbels’ time, Russia is smeared on all state and corporate media channels whether the subject is sport, culture, law, media, — or above all — politics.

Carefully selected “information”, the concealment of unpleasant facts, blatant lies, double standards, hypocrisy — make up the daily dose of defamation that comes pouring out over Russia. By order of Washington-based warmongers, global mass murderers, and criminals, there is to be a wedge driven through Europe.



They were close political allies until he disagreed with her hostility towards Russia

The purpose of this wedge is to ensure that European and Russian economic powers do not unite, possibly putting to question the supremacy of the US Empire.

Willy Wimmer is one of the few independent and clever minds in German politics, who choose to counter this insidiously dangerous propagandist madness with truthful information. The CDU politician regularly visits Russia and is well-connected both there and in Germany.



Wimmer with Putin in St. Petersburg in April 2016

Having just returned from Moscow, Willy Wimmer gave a fiery speech at the first investor’s conference of stockbroker Dirk Müller on April 9. In speaking out against the war mongering, Wimmer exposed many of the lies that the transatlantic propagandists want to use to deceive German citizens.

Willy Wimmer:


"... I experienced something of a Swiss nature [while I was at a plenary meeting of 500 Russian journalists in Saint Petersburg]. Switzerland embodies a consensus democracy, in which those in power are forced to justify themselves. For three days, I had the opportunity to experience this type of grassroots democracy by observing these journalists. Serving as a link between the people and the federal level, journalists took turns questioning in a way that was both critical and yet friendly. And I can only hope that this will one day again be possible in our country ....

You just have to look at the media of today! You can’t find one ounce of pluralism any more. Never have I seen German media beat the war drum so intensely, as I have while observing the media reactions to the situation in Ukraine, Iraq, and the illegal war in Yugoslavia. Ladies and gentlemen, we have the right to a free press, one that expresses the will of the people. And I have to go to St. Petersburg to experience this.

If I look at what is written about Russia in the German press, then there is nothing that I can say that is favorable. I can understand it, in a way. Take a look at the German media: naturally they report on the Russian Federation, but the partners that you find mostly in Moscow are Russians that work for the Americans – for the NGOs. Ladies and gentlemen, I want us to have unrestricted access to our largest neighbor in Europe, and that neighbor is simply the Russian Federation. I don’t need to have any “interpreter” whose residence is in Washington. Why? Because I can judge for myself what is happening between me and my neighbor – and this freedom to judge independently is what we must value.

And on the following day, I got to experience a really interesting discussion [Putin's Q&A], to which I can only say, Chancellor [Merkel], I’d like to see you do this in Germany. I’d like to see you hold your own against representatives of local and regional media outlets for hours. I’d like to see you do a Q&A in front of 500 people and declare: I’m the chancellor of this country and you all have the right to question me and my policies. Please, feel free to do so! If this lady had the same quality of character as the Russian president, then all I can say is that it would be a wonderful present to all of us. But [something like Putin’s Q&A] doesn’t exist in Germany. It exists in St. Petersburg, and for that the Russians are being insulted! That is simply the truth.

So as far as I’m concerned, I experienced Swiss consensus democracy in Saint Petersburg. The folks were very proud to pose their questions, and they were — and this is the most amazing part — so nice about it! This is something we don’t know anything about in Germany.

Ladies and gentlemen, the crisis developing in the Ukraine serves as the last brick placed in a wall which is being constructed across Europe. The only way we can have contact with our big neighbor is by going over this wall of American control, which is held in place by these European countries.

Ladies and gentlemen, after the fall of the Berlin Wall 26 years ago, this simply cannot be the political reality! It can’t be that American policy is the reason we are making enemies of each other again here in Europe!

It simply must not be!"


http://russia-insider.com/en/willy-w...an-msm/ri14163
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