Observers at COP28 in Dubai expect harsh criticism of the EU’s climate measures and warn that Berlin has long since squandered its credibility in climate policy.
BERLIN/DUBAI (Own report) - Observers at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, which kicks off tomorrow, expect to see harsh criticism of the EU’s climate measures. They warn that Germany has little international credibility left in the climate policy arena. Some of this criticism is directed at the EU’s new carbon tariff arrangement for the import of energy-intensive products. Under the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), special levies will be imposed by Brussels to protect Europe’s energy-intensive industries from foreign competition. The CBAM threatens to deprive African countries of almost one per cent of their GDP. It may also destroy current efforts to industrialise raw material producing countries in Africa. In addition to the criticisms levelled at EU, the German government’s declarations on the need for resolute climate action are increasingly seen as lacking credibility. On the African continent, for example, careful note has been taken of Germany’s response to its decision to stop buying Russian natural gas. African deposits which Berlin, previously, had strongly warned not to exploit are now very much on the table. Moreover, there is also growing international awareness that Germany is set to fall far short of its own climate targets for 2030 and 2045. Read more
According to a report, Washington and Berlin urge negotiations between Kiev and Moscow. US experts call for a shift from warfare to a “strategy of containment” of Russia.
BERLIN/KIEV (Own report) – In Germany and the United States, pressure is mounting on Kiev to stop rejecting ceasefire negotiations with Moscow. As was reported late last week, the governments of both countries are seeking a transition to negotiations, but would like Kiev to take the initiative without being requested to do so publicly. An appeal would make a mockery of the West’s constant assertion that Ukraine is deciding on its own course of action. The plan to initiate talks with Moscow reflects the failure not only of Kiev’s counter-offensive, but also of the Western sanctions against Russia: Already since some time, experts have been recommending a transition to a policy of containment, given the fact that Ukraine’s armed forces are unable to achieve victory on the battlefield and Russia cannot be defeated economically. This should freeze the current military situation without formally ceding Ukrainian territories to Russia and should be accompanied by NATO’s massive rearmament. Experts are calling for a “change of mentality” in Germany and Berlin is insisting on “warfighting capability.” Read more
At an investment conference in Berlin German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urges African countries to produce green hydrogen for Germany. The German economy is increasingly falling behind in Africa.
BERLIN (Own report) – Africa should begin to play a greater role as a supplier for Germany’s energy transition. With this goal in mind, the German government convened an investment conference yesterday, Monday, with several African heads of states and governments. Berlin is anticipating a rapid increase in the German demand for green hydrogen – a demand that also African countries are expected to fulfill. The German government is also considering importing iron produced with green hydrogen as a preliminary product for German industry. Yesterday’s conference had been organized within the framework of “Compact with Africa”, a project developed in Berlin, intended to ensure that African economies are tailored to the requirements of Western investors. Berlin is also seeking to use it, to establish a stronger footing for German industry on the African continent, where recently German companies have been increasingly falling behind. WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a native of Nigeria, points out: “When we speak with China, we get an airport; when we speak with Germany, we get a lecture.” Read more
Ukraine expands its armaments industry with Western help and aims to become a “leading nation” in that sector. Rheinmetall has already concluded a joint venture for tank production.
KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) – Ukraine is pushing ahead with the expansion of its arms industry and is wooing US companies, since concluding a cooperation deal with the German Rheinmetall arms manufacturer. It was announced at the end of last week that at a conference to be held in Washington in about two weeks, Kiev will insist on US arms factories being established in Ukraine. Rheinmetall is already present in Ukraine and is beginning to repair tanks, damaged at the Russian-Ukrainian front, while also planning, in the long run, to produce up to 400 Panther main battle tanks – including for export, given Ukraine’s extremely low wages. The Ukrainian government is seeking joint ventures between Western arms companies and its domestic arms industry, to compensate for the future lack of Western arms deliveries and to establish Ukraine as a central armaments hub. Arms production should become one of the main sectors of the Ukrainian economy in the future. Government members see their country on the road to becoming “the leading nation in the arms industry” by 2040. Read more
EU agrees on law to secure strategic raw materials to reduce vulnerabilities in the West’s economic war against China. China responds to sanctions and restricts exports of important resources.
BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) – In its power struggle with China, the EU has passed a new law to strengthen its independence from supplies of Chinese raw materials. The Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA), approved by the relevant bodies on Monday and set to be officially adopted before the end of this year, stipulates that in future only 65 percent of the strategically important raw materials may be purchased from a single country. At the same time mining and processing are to be expanded in Europe. Currently, German companies are purchasing some of their strategic raw materials to a large extent or even almost entirely from the People’s Republic of China. Beijing, which has always been a reliable supplier, is currently beginning to defend itself against the West’s economic war, in which it is coming under increasing attacks with punitive tariffs and sanctions. It is resorting to restrictions on its exports of strategically essential natural resources – including gallium, germanium and soon also graphite. If the West persists in its economic warfare, it will face material shortages in the foreseeable future, for example, in regards to the production of semiconductors and climate change technologies. Read more
New Defense Policy Guidelines call for warfighting capability of the Bundeswehr and orient toward war with Russia. Berlin also hopes to increase its military clout within NATO and the EU.
BERLIN (Own report) – The German government seeks to adapt and upgrade the German army for possible war with Russia, according to the New Defense Policy Guidelines presented by German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius last week. Berlin remains committed to increasing its military strength and declares “deterrence” of Moscow as the Bundeswehr’s core task. In the guidelines, there is no mention of possible negotiated solutions and de-escalation. Ignoring NATO's war of aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999, the authors claim that Russia brought war back to Europe in early 2022. Germany must therefore become “combat-ready” as quickly as possible. The two focal points of the document – the expansion of national military capabilities and the orientation of the Bundeswehr towards war with Russia – do not represent a “Zeitenwende” in German military policy. They have been continuously promoted by German governments for years, throughout several legislative terms. On the basis of new military clout, Berlin is seeking a leading military role in Europe and a “creative power” within NATO. Read more
EU free trade agreement with Australia failed. Talks on agreements with the Mercosur, India and Indonesia stalled. The German industry protests, accuses the EU of “values imperialism.”
BRUSSELS/CANBERRA/BRASÍLIA (Own report) – German business circles are sharply criticizing the EU’s failure on the free trade agreement with Australia and the persisting delay of other EU free trade negotiations. Canberra broke off negotiations with the EU early last week – a serious setback for Brussels. The EU seeks to become less dependent on China with the help of Australian resources. The free trade agreement with Mercosur is also threatened to fail. The member states of that South American alliance are not prepared to give in to Brussels’ demands to protect the rainforests, which are clearly perceived as harassment. It is uncertain that a conciliation can still be achieved. The negotiations on the free trade agreement with India and Indonesia are also stalled. The reason for the failure, on the one hand, are irreconcilable divergences of interests between German industry and French agriculture. On the other hand, according to commentators, the EU’s insistence on environmental demands is perceived as “values imperialism.” The EU treats other states “as if it were the school master.” Read more
German government seeks to strengthen its relations to Thailand in the power struggle against China. The relations date back to the 19th century and flourished particularly during the Nazi era.
BANGKOK/BERLIN (Own report) – In the power struggle against China, the German government is seeking to strengthen its relations with several Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand. According to the new German ambassador to Bangkok, Ernst Reichel, diplomatic relations between the two countries are not close enough and need to be strengthened. Last week, Petra Sigmund, head of the Asia-Pacific Department at the German Foreign Ministry, visited Bangkok to intensify bilateral relations based on “close economic and political ties”. Berlin sees Thailand as an alternative location for German industry now based in China. Relations between Germany and Thailand date back more than one and a half centuries. They were intensified during the German Empire, gained in strength during the second half of the 1920s, when the government in Bangkok turned against the influence of the Chinese minority, and especially flourished during the Nazi era. Already in the 1950s, the Federal Republic of Germany managed to restore its old contacts with Thailand – now on the side of the United States, in the context of the confrontation of the systems. Read more
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz presses Nigeria to supply Germany with liquefied natural gas and accelerate refugee repatriation. Austerity measures threaten to plunge Nigeria into severe poverty.
ABUJA/BERLIN (Own report) –Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants Nigeria to increase LNG supplies to Germany and is demanding that Nigerian refugees be accepted back swiftly. Scholz, who held talks on Sunday and Monday in Nigeria's capital Abuja and subsequently in its commercial capital Lagos, is thus continuing his efforts to increase LNG imports from African countries to replace Russian gas – a step that last year had already raised a few eyebrows. The German government had repeatedly urged African countries to abandon fossil fuel extraction. While increasing deportation of Nigerians, Berlin – according to Scholz – is trying to lure more “talents” from the country to work for German companies –a contribution to the brain drain depriving developing countries of urgently needed and expensively trained skilled labor. In Nigeria, Scholz also held talks on the developments in Niger. Last summer, with Nigeria's help, the EU sought to overthrow the military government in Niger that previously had ousted a pro-Western president and is seeking to lead the country to genuine independence from the former colonial powers. Read more
Eight Hundred forty-two EU employees protest against von der Leyen's Gaza policy. Diplomats warn, the West has lost all credibility in the Global South because of its disregard for civilian deaths in Gaza.
BERLIN/BRUSSELS/TEL AVIV (Own report) – In an unprecedented protest letter, some 850 EU staff members launched an attack on Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's high-handed policy on the war in Gaza. The protest was sparked by the debate on how Brussels should react to Israel’s attacks on Gaza and the cutting off access to food and water to the civilian population in the wake of the Hamas massacres on October 7. Whereas an EU majority demands that Israel comply with international humanitarian law, von der Leyen had initially avoided it, thereby effectively adopting Berlin's position. In their protest letter, the staff members write that they are concerned about “the seeming indifference demonstrated” toward civilians in the Gaza Strip and warn that “the EU risks losing all credibility.” Already last week, diplomats told the Financial Times that the same standards applied to Russia in the war in Ukraine should also apply to the war in Gaza. Since this was obviously not the case, we must now assume that the countries of the Global South “won’t ever listen to us again.” Already at the next UN vote on Ukraine, “we’ll see a big explosion in the number of abstentions.” Read more