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ACCRA/BERLIN | | ghana

ACCRA/BERLIN (Own report) - The German president's visit to Ghana, which ends today, focuses on warding off refugees and landing lucrative business deals for German enterprises. In an interview with the Ghanaian press yesterday, Frank-Walter Steinmeier "warned" against attempts to cross the Sahara and Mediterranean to reach Germany, because this trip could end in "imprisonment" by Libyan slave traders or even death. "Stay home," is how the German media summarized the message of the president's remarks. At the same time, Steinmeier is eager to pave the way for lucrative investments in Ghana for German companies with the help the "Compact with Africa" G20 initiative. "Compact" is aimed at encouraging African countries to adjust their economies to better meet the wishes of western investors. German business circles see Ghana "in the second row" of African countries behind the economic heavyweights, South Africa and Nigeria and are pleading to expand their business with this country - in rivalry to China. more…

BERLIN/BRUSSELS |

BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) - The German government has announced that the EU Military Union will be officially launched this Monday, with the European Council formally adopting 17 projects aimed at creating joint EU military structures. Germany is in charge of the establishment of a European Medical Command, considered an indispensable element of future EU military operations, alongside the European Air Transport Command, which has existed since 2010. Berlin is also establishing logistical structures that would facilitate rapid interventions. The German Bundeswehr is also active in both fields within the NATO framework. The operational preparation for future military missions is influenced by a fierce power struggle between Germany and France. According to the German ministry of defense, the military union is not only aimed at reaching more "independence" from the United States, but also at advancing EU "integration," which is difficult to achieve with civilian means. more…

MUNICH/BERLIN |

MUNICH/BERLIN (Own report) - The organizers of the Munich Security Conference (MSC), one of the world's most important military policy conferences, are urging that the EU's transformation into a war alliance be accelerated. The European Union of states should be able to take on "missions," similar to the 2011 military operation against Libya, at any time, according to a recent report by the Munich Security Conference, the McKinsey management consulting firm and the elite Hertie School of Governance. Not only drastic increases in the military budgets are being demanded of the EU members, but, above all, investments in modern military equipment. The authors of the report not only emphasize the harmonization of European weapon system standards but are also demanding that EU-states invest more in research, and to a growing extent, involve universities, branches of civilian industries and so-called start-up enterprises. According to the MSC Chairman, the German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger, these are "essential" decisions, because it is "unsustainable" for the EU to continue to rely on US "protection." more…

ATHENS/BERLIN | | griechenland

ATHENS/BERLIN (Own report) - Following yesterday’s euro zone finance ministers’ approval of a new austerity dictate for Athens, the Greek population will be confronted with more measures exacerbating impoverishment. The measures agreed upon late last week by the Greek government, relevant EU institutions and the IMF include the expansion of evictions. Critics are warning of an increase in homelessness. At the same time, the sale of state-owned property continues with plans to sell off four power plants. Unions have announced plans to strike in protest, but they cannot be sure that they will be allowed to carry through, because their right to strike has been severely restricted due to pressure from Brussels. Alleged initial successes, such as a slight decrease in unemployment, turns out to be a sham, because it is based on a dramatic increase in particularly low-paid part-time jobs, which do nothing to reduce poverty, but, on the contrary, consolidate it, in the long run. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - Germany and the three remaining major West European EU member countries should formulate a joint foreign policy and implement it even without an EU-wide consensus, demands Norbert Röttgen, former Chair of the Committee of Foreign Affairs in the German Bundestag. Such an approach would be inevitable, because a foreign policy consensus in the EU is impossible "within the foreseeable future," although rapid and resolute activity is needed to reach an "equal footing with the USA and Russia." Experts are proposing, as an alternative, the introduction of foreign policy decisions being taken at majority votes. This would mean that EU countries - against the will of their respective governments - could, for example, be forced into serious conflicts with third countries. Reflecting major shifts in the global political fabric, these proposals have become elements of an intense debate within Berlin's political establishment. The German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is warning against the escalation of conflicts, for example, with China, and the military does not rule out the possibility of Berlin's loss of power, through the potential disintegration of the EU. more…

KIEV/BERLIN | | ukraine

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) - In an Italian TV documentary on the February 20, 2014 Maidan massacre, serious accusations were made against several politicians in Ukraine, including influential politicians, who are Germany's cooperation partners. In the documentary, three Georgians, incriminating themselves for their own participation, report that some of the leaders of the protests, who are today members of Kiev's parliament, had supplied weapons to the snipers, who, at the time, indiscriminately killed policemen and demonstrators. Officially, this massacre is still being attributed to Ukrainian repressive organs or to unspecified Russians. The Georgians also report that the current speaker of the parliament, Andriy Parubiy, was often seen in the hotel, from where the snipers were firing that day. As "Maidan Commander," Parubiy had been in charge of controlling armed gangs on that square. The man, whose real role at the time remains unclear, was a guest at a conference held by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and a speaker at NATO events. more…

KIEV/BERLIN | | ukraine

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) - Fours years after the beginning of the Maidan protests, serious accusations are being leveled against leading activists of the pro-western opponents of the reigning government, at the time. Three Georgians, who incriminate themselves for their own participation, have told the Italian media that the snipers, who had unleashed the February 20, 2013 Maidan massacre, had allegedly been acting under orders - and with the practical support - of the opposition. Their statements confirm the confessions made earlier - some even in publicly - by other snipers. There has been no reaction from Ukrainian authorities. While Kiev is marking the fourth anniversary of the beginning of the protests this week, more than three-fourths of the population sees their country as plunged into ruin and chaos, according to a poll. The power of the Ukrainian oligarchs is still intact and corruption is becoming rampant. Only anti-Russian measures are being successfully executed including those massively limiting freedom of the press. more…

BERLIN/RIYADH/TEHERAN | | saudi-arabien

BERLIN/RIYADH/TEHERAN (Own report) - The dispute over Riyadh’s aggression against Iran is escalating between Germany and Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has recalled its ambassador from Berlin and cancelled steps to ease the dramatic famine in Yemen, following German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel's accusation that Riyadh had been holding Lebanese Prime Minster Saad Al-Hariri hostage for nearly two weeks in its efforts to escalate the conflict with the Iran-backed Hezbollah. 130 children are dying daily of starvation, caused by Saudi Arabia’s hunger blockade on Yemen. In the Middle East, the German government is trying to maintain a fragile balance between Saudi Arabia and Iran that can be influenced from the outside to strengthen the German-European position at the Persian Gulf. To prevent Riyadh from becoming the future underdog, Germany is thus upgrading the Saudi military and Riyadh, in turn, is relying on German weapons in its efforts to escalate the conflict with Iran and its regional allies. more…