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VIDEO-
COLUMN #7

The EU –
a “Union of Values”?

BERLIN/PARIS | | frankreich

BERLIN/PARIS (Own report) - In the arms industry, tensions between Berlin and Paris are growing as new steps are made to develop the next-generation of EU aerial combat systems. The signing of new agreements concerning the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) on Monday in Paris was overshadowed by warnings from the German Bundestag that companies from Germany must be granted at least 50 percent of the contracts for the development and construction of the FCAS. At the same time, Berlin is seeking to shift the balance of forces involved in the development and construction of a new Franco-German battle tank to Germany's advantage. The battle tank is conceived to be part of the future Main Ground Combat Systems (MGCS), which - like the FCAS - should operate in close conjunction with other weapons including unmanned systems. While the German government is aiming to establish the Franco-German combat systems as a standard within the EU, to channel as much profit as possible to Germany, Great Britain, excluded from the German - French project, is developing its own rival combat aircraft. more…

BERLIN/CHISINAU | | moldawien

BERLIN/CHISINAU (Own report) - Germany's Foreign Minster Heiko Maas (SPD) is praising and offering German "assistance" to the new government of the Republic of Moldova, which has come to power following fierce power struggles. Last week, the second constitutional crisis in 5 years has shaken up the small landlocked country located between Romania and Ukraine. Forces, once allied with Germany, who are close to the country's richest oligarch, Vladimir Plahotniuc, had formed a counter-government controlling the police and important government bodies. Initially, the new government that came into office in accordance with the constitution had little power in the country - in spite of rapid international recognition, including Germany's. After the counter-government resigned on Friday, the liberal politician Maia Sandu became the uncontested prime minister. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European People's Party (EPP) had already supported Sandu during the 2016 presidential election campaign, which she ultimately lost. She promotes Moldova's EU association. more…

BERLIN/KHARTUM |

BERLIN/KHARTUM (Own report) - Serious allegations are being raised in Sudan concerning one of Berlin and the EU's partners in warding off refugees. According to doctors in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, more than 100 people have been killed and at least 70, raped during the brutal suppression of last week's mass protests, carried out mainly by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The RSF militia, which had already been accused of atrocities during the civil war in Darfur, has been looting and murdering in Khartoum for more than a week. Its leader is considered to be the real strongman in Sudan, since the longtime President Omar al-Bashir and his regime were ousted by the population after a month-long struggle on April 11. Berlin and the EU had not only been operating closely with al-Bashir to halt the flow of refugees. Fully aware of its blood-thirsty violence against refugees, they had also relied on the, now rampaging in Khartoum, RSF, to seal off the Sudanese borders. Berlin and the EU are also cooperating with murderous militias in Libya. more…

TEHRAN/BERLIN | | iran

TEHRAN/BERLIN (Own report) - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) is threatening Tehran with international isolation. Maas met with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran yesterday to discuss options for salvaging the nuclear deal. Zarif, whose country has been complying with the agreement, is demanding that the West do the same and halt the sanctions: "The only way to ease tensions and de-escalate is to end the economic war." Under the weight of US sanctions, the Iranian economy is indeed collapsing and the population is suffering from dramatically increased food prices and a noticeable lack of medicines. In its effort to salvage the nuclear deal, Berlin is mainly concerned with serving the German economy's expansionist interests and with its own profile as a global player vis-à-vis the United States. Maas conceded yesterday that the INSTEX financial vehicle Berlin helped to create could not provide an adequate substitute for the losses inflicted by the sanctions. Now, he is reverting to threats. more…

ATHENS/BERLIN | | griechenland

ATHENS/BERLIN (Own report) - Athens has formally requested reparations negotiations with Berlin for the devastation the German occupiers had inflicted on Greece during World War II. The Greek Ambassador handed over a confidential note verbale to the competent authorities in Berlin, confirmed the German foreign ministry, yesterday. According to a Greek parliamentary commission, the reparations debt amounts to €288 billion, at current value. The German government categorically rejects payments. As a spokesperson for the German foreign ministry confirmed, "the issue has been settled legally and politically." For a long time, the Federal Republic of Germany has, in fact, linked its reparation obligations, stipulated in a 1946 Agreement, to a peace treaty concluded sometime in the future. When the issue arose in 1990, Germany concluded the Two-Plus-Four-Agreement "instead of" a peace treaty and unilaterally declared the "reparations issue … settled." Internal documents from 1990 expose Bonn's bag of tricks. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - In a recent strategy paper, the Federation of German Industries (BDI) is calling on the German government to provide billions of euros in support of German industry in the global competition for expansion into space. According to BDI, not only the German economy needs independent space-based satellite communications to secure its "strategic autonomy," but government agencies and the military, as well. After all, Bundeswehr missions are "inconceivable without space systems." The BDI, estimating the current space market at around US $260 billion, expects the global space market to increase "to US $2,700 billion" by 2040. To secure the German industry an attractive market share, the government must significantly increase its current approx. €285 million space budget, the BDI writes. Moon flights, space debris disposal, and space mining could offer opportunities. more…

BERLIN | | brasilien

BERLIN (Own report) - With a Latin America-Caribbean Conference, the German Foreign Ministry is launching a new political offensive in the struggle for influence in Latin America. Germany and the EU's influence on the subcontinent has been stagnating, while China's importance is growing. The government hopes to counteract this development by helping German companies to increase their opportunities in Latin America - and this at a time when massive protest is being raised against German companies' activities, for example, in Brazil. The Brazilian judiciary has currently taken action against the Technical Control Board (TÜV) South, for its alleged complicity in a dam burst in January of this year, killing more than 250 people. Brazilian activists are also accusing the Bayer and BASF companies of selling agricultural poisons in their country, which are banned in the EU. Over the past decade, more than 2,000 people have died in Brazil from agrochemicals. Berlin is also envisaging the inclusion of Latin American countries into NATO structures. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - The Federation of German Industries (BDI), representing the main beneficiaries of the European integration has issued a call to vote in the European elections and for a commitment to a "strong and united Europe." The EU is a "unique realm of peace, liberty, and prosperity," writes the BDI in a joint declaration with leading French and Italian industrial associations, published yesterday. According to a recent study by the Bertelsmann Foundation, the German industry, represented by the BDI, is the EU's biggest winner, raking in 86 billion euros per year, thanks to the common market. Already last February, the Center for European Policy (cep) pointed out that Germany is the euro's biggest beneficiary: since its launch, the single currency has generated almost 1.9 trillion euros for the central power, while costing Italy 4.3 trillion. Whereas the BDI speaks of the EU in glowing terms, almost one quarter of the population living in the EU is threatened by poverty and social marginalization. more…