Following a possible change of government in London, the SPD and Labour Party plan enhanced German-British military cooperation, including the sending of an aircraft carrier strike group to the Pacific.
LONDON/BERLIN (Own report) – The German Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the British Labour Party are launching an initiative to enhance German-British military and armament cooperation including the joint deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group to the Pacific. Last week, the SPD-affiliated Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the London-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) have presented a report outlining relevant recommendations. Not only should the two countries’ armed forces and arms industries significantly increase their cooperation, the foreign and defense ministers in Berlin and London should also intensively coordinate their policies. Foreign policy experts in Berlin are promoting such steps to elude the military and arms industry’s dependence on the USA, which had significantly increased since the beginning of the Ukraine war. John Healey, Shadow Defense Secretary of the Labour Party, which has good chances of winning next year’s elections, announced a UK-German military agreement within the first six months of a Labour Government. Nils Schmid, Spokesperson on Foreign Policyfor the SPD Parliamentary Group agrees with the proposals. Read more
In the EU, threats are made to unleash a trade war against Great Britain over the Northern Ireland protocol dispute. The self-inflicted damage would add to the damage already provoked by anti-Russia sanctions.
BERLIN/BRUSSELS/LONDON (Own report) – The EU may be at the threshold of its next trade war, according to remarks pertaining to today’s appointment of Liz Truss as the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. It is caused by the dispute between Brussels and London over the Northern Ireland protocol, which, becoming effective in the aftermath of Brexit, imposes the establishment of a customs border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, obligating London to comply with single market regulations in Northern Ireland. Given the fact that, until now, the EU has only been willing to allow minor corrections to the protocol, even though it is provoking serious tensions in Northern Ireland, the British government is preparing to institute changes unilaterally. It has been reported that Truss could suspend parts of the protocol soon after taking office. Such a move could provoke a “trade war” between the EU and Great Britain, Katarina Barley (SPD), Vice President of the EU Parliament, was quoted to have said. The damage that would ensue from that trade war, would add to the severe damage inflicted on the economies of Germany and the EU from their sanctions on Russia. In addition, because of the power struggle with Beijing, there is also a danger of a slump in business with China. Read more
During its East Asia tour the German frigate Bayern will make a port call at Diego Garcia. The island is the site of a US military base and is, according to UN courts, illegally occupied by Great Britain.
BERLIN/LONDON/WASHINGTON (Own report) - The frigate Bayern, which set sail for East Asia yesterday, will soon make a port call at Diego Garcia, an island under occupation, in violation of international law, and serving military purposes. It is the main island of the Chagos Archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean and the site of a strategically important US military base. The Chagos Archipelago is an old British colonial possession that had once belonged to Mauritius. It was detached, in violation of international law, during the decolonization of Mauritius, to allow the United States to construct a military base. The population was deported to impoverished regions on Mauritius. In the meantime, several international court rulings have been handed down and a UN General Assembly resolution has been passed on this issue - all concluding that Mauritius has sovereignty over Diego Garcia and calling on the United Kingdom to hand back the illegally occupied Chagos Archipelago. To this day, London and Washington refuse to comply. This does not bother Berlin. Read more
EU increases pressure on Great Britain in spite of post-Brexit trade deal. German government advisors see common foreign and military policy in jeopardy.
BERLIN/LONDON (Own report) - Fierce attacks by politicians and media in Germany against Great Britain are flanking the ratification of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatens punitive measures, if London fails to scrupulously comply with the agreement. Punitive tariffs are being discussed in Brussels. Germany's main media outlets are fueling the old prejudice against Great Britain of the "perfidious Albion." German government advisors warn that the severely "strained" relations "limit" the urgently desired EU-UK foreign and military policy cooperation. "Trust" could be built through exchanges in "bilateral and minilateral formats," for instance in the "E3" framework (Germany, France, Great Britain) to lay "the foundation for long-term institutionalized cooperation." At the same time tensions are growing in the dispute over cooperation in the financial sector, threatening to deepen the rift between the two sides. Read more
EU again orders inspection of a vaccine filling plant. EU export controls cost precious time in global vaccine production.
BRUSSELS/BERLIN/LONDON (Own report) - The EU's serious failings in procurement of Covid-19 vaccines are dragging the Union into internal and external conflicts prior to today's summit. Tensions are growing between EU states, because poorer countries are being discriminated against in the distribution of the scarce supply of vaccines and are thus lagging behind in their vaccination programs. The fact that a growing number of EU member states, in addition to the protracted procurement at Union level, have begun to purchase Russian vaccines on a national level has caused further conflicts. Several allied countries are very upset because the EU has widened vaccine export controls and openly threatens to impose export bans. It was reported yesterday that the EU Commission had ordered the police to inspect an AstraZeneca vaccine filling plant in Italy, accusing the company of smuggling vaccines to the UK in a breach of contract. The accusation proved to be unfounded. According to insiders, the EU's maneuvers are already wasting precious time in global vaccine production. Read more
The political conflicts between the EU and Great Britain - also over vaccines - are increasing while economic ties are decreasing.
BERLIN/LONDON (Own report) - The controversy between the EU and Great Britain over access to Covid-19 vaccines is escalating. The persistent EU campaign against the vaccine by AstraZeneca (headquartered in Cambridge) has already provoked considerable anger in the UK. Brussels' threat to withhold future vaccine supplies from Great Britain is further exacerbating tensions. Recently, the EU ambassador to the UK was summoned to the Foreign Office by British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. Brussels, on the other hand, has launched legal proceedings against London over a breach of the Brexit deal's Northern Ireland Protocol. While political tensions are rising, economic ties are diminishing - apparently a long-term trend. Experts forecast that overall UK trade with the EU could fall by about a third by 2030. At the same time, the UK is rapidly expanding its economic ties to Asia - and plans to shift the focus of its foreign policy to the "Indo-Pacific." Read more
German experts push for closer armament cooperation with Great Britain - including high-tech warfare.
BERLIN/LONDON (Own report) - Germany should intensify its armaments and military cooperation with Great Britain, with a particular focus on the warfare of the future with robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI), urge experts of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) within the framework of a program financed by the CSU-affiliated Hanns Seidel Foundation and implemented at London's prestigious King's College. These efforts are aimed at militarily tying the United Kingdom as close as possible to the EU, in spite of Brexit, to be able to use the clout of British armed forces for future EU operations. Whereas, military cooperation has long since been agreed upon - but had not really gotten off the ground, in practice - DGAP experts are now urging the enhancement of armament cooperation, for example, the joint development of missiles, as well as German participation in British programs, which explore the comprehensive use of state-of-the-art technologies from combat machines to Artificial Intelligence. Read more
Chancellor Merkel calls for "compromise" on trade agreement with Great Britain, breaking EU consensus.
BERLIN/LONDON (Own report) - The German government breaks ranks with the EU consensus on the negotiations of a Brexit free trade agreement and demands that concessions be made to Great Britain. On Thursday, the EU heads of states and governments - with Germany's endorsement - had unanimously increased pressure on the British government to unilaterally concede in the dispute over the agreement, however, Chancellor Merkel is now strongly pleading for "a compromise." This change of course was triggered by London's reiteration that it would rather settle for a no-deal Brexit, if the EU insists on its maximalist positions. A hard Brexit would bring serious disadvantages particularly for German industry, because, well ahead of China, the UK is its second largest investment site and its business on the British Isles has already been seriously affected by Brexit uncertainties. Confronted with the impact of the Corona crisis and economic risks due to the power struggle between the USA and China, Germany seeks to avoid further slumps. Read more
Germany's economy registers billons in Brexit-induced losses. Minimal shifts of financial-sector jobs from London to Frankfurt/Main.
LONDON/BERLIN (Own report) - German business circles are vigorously pushing for a successful trade and partnership agreement with Great Britain. German businesses are already registering annual losses in the billions, because the EU has not yet agreed on regulations for its post-Brexit economic relations with the United Kingdom. The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) estimates a slowdown in Germany's economic growth at 0,8 percentage points since the referendum in June 2016. It could reach around 0,6 percentage points in 2021, alone, if no agreement can be reached by the end of this year, according to the DIW. Current estimates predict this year's overall growth to be at 0,7 percent. Nevertheless, Brussels is pushing its luck by insisting that London make contractual adjustments to fit EU norms and standards - a step the British government, having gained independence through the Brexit, strictly rejects. The German financial sector's gains through Brexit have turned out much smaller than had been hoped. Read more
Berlin Needs Great Britain for its Global Policy Plans
LONDON/BERLIN (Own report) - Following the electoral victory of Britain's Conservatives under Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the German government is now urging a continuation of its close cooperation with that country. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed his hopes that the United Kingdom "remains a close partner." Chancellor Angela Merkel is "looking forward to our continued cooperation, for friendship, and a close partnership between our countries." Berlin needs Great Britain's political and military capabilities for implementing Germany's European global policy projects. The British armed forces are still considered to be the most powerful in Europe and London still has considerable influence on global policy. Political and economic examples show that disregarding Britain's interests can push London into direct rivalry to Berlin. This factor is now all the more important, because Brexit provides the United Kingdom economic and political alternatives to cooperation with the EU. Read more