BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - On the eve of Germany's presidency of the EU, German cartographical plans for a "large scale reordering of Europe" have come to light. These maps were produced at the request of the German Foreign Office and are intended for the political and administrative use of German authorities. In these presentations, Germany dominates the area called "Middle Europe" as the country with the largest population. Great Britain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands are excluded. Denmark, Spain, Italy and Portugal also do not belong to "Middle Europe". Former Yugoslavia up to the Albanian frontier and thirteen other states in Eastern Europe do. According to the themes developed "areas historically ruled by the predominantly German-speaking states" are the most "suitable" for inclusion in the "The cultural space (Kulturraum) of Middle Europe". The accompanying charts designate parts of France, Denmark, the whole of Luxemburg, Switzerland and upper Italy to the political fiction of a German-dominated centre. Naturally, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary are taken into the project. Various areas are claimed as part of "Middle Europe" because they were originally part of the German Reich, "quite separately" from their later conquest by the Nazis. german-foreign-policy.com is publishing excerpts from these charts which bear a worrying similarity to projections made by the predecessor states of the German Federal Republic. more…

HAMBURG/MUNICH/FREIBURG |

HAMBURG/MUNICH/FREIBURG (Own report) - In several German cities citizens' action committees have been protesting against the continuous public maintenance of German colonial tradition. In Hamburg it is being demanded that the recently inaugurated bust of the slave-trader Heinrich Carl von Schimmelmann be demolished. In Munich the renaming of the street dedicated to the colonial general Lothar von Trotha, which had already been passed by the city council, is being threatened with failure by resistance from local residents and politicians. In Freiburg a controversy has been smoldering for years over the street names of the so-called "Heroes Quarter", where 1934 the Nazis in power honored Admiral Spee, the commander of the German colonial East Asia fleet, among others. A similar situation can be found in Berlin and Cologne, where, since the Nazi period, entire settlements are dedicated to the memory of the German colonial past. Numerous citizens in Braunschweig are actively calling for a conversion of the local "colonial war memorial". Voices critical of official handling of the German colonial history are to be heard in a growing number of other cities, among them Hanover, Bielefeld and Duesseldorf. They disprove the often repeated allegation, made in German foreign policy, that, unlike its European competitors, Germany has not inherited the burdens of the colonial age and earns the special confidence of African states. more…

KHARTOUM/BERLIN | | sudanusa

KHARTOUM/BERLIN (Own report) - Under persistent pressure from Berlin and the EU, the United Nations Human Rights Council decided on December 13 to dispatch an "expert commission" to the West Sudanese civil war area of Darfur. Though this further internationalizes the civil war in Sudan, the debate in the German capital, Berlin, continues to rage around an expansion of the German Armed Forces' (Bundeswehr) mission in Darfur. Several Ministers, as well as, foreign policy politicians of the opposition Green Party seek to reinforce the German military contingent. In so doing, they are conforming to demands made by Washington, which, since the 1990s, has been leading an anti-Khartoum front seeking to overthrow the Sudanese government and currently sees new grounds for hope in the situation in West Sudan. The anti-Khartoum front had been joined by the preceding SPD-Green (Red-Green) coalition government. In tandem with human rights organizations, Berlin provided a "left disguise" for the US political front, motivated by discoveries of raw materials and geo-strategic interests, assesses Dr. Helmut Strizek, an expert on African affairs, in a discussion with german-foreign-policy.com. In the meantime, it can be discerned that the German capital is carefully loosening its bonds to Washington, to carve out more of an East African role for Germany. This is expressed in votes against an expansion of the Bundeswehr mission and in favor of closer cooperation with the People's Republic of China. more…

KHARTOUM/BERLIN/TEL AVIV | | sudanusa

KHARTOUM/BERLIN/TEL AVIV (Own report) - The government in Berlin is increasing pressure on Khartoum. A decision was taken Dec. 15 concerning an extension of the deployment of the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) in Sudan. The Sudanese government must allow UN troops into the civil war torn region of Darfur, insists the Human Rights Parliamentary Committee of the German Bundestag, otherwise the EU should impose sanctions on this East African nation. Since Tuesday Dec. 12, at the insistence of Brussels, the United Nations Human Rights Council has also been negotiating a resolution concerning Darfur. What counts now is "to develop crisis scenarios as soon as possible", is heard in the parliamentary group of the government ruling Christian Democrat, CDU/CSU parties. The development in Sudan was also a theme of discussion during the Israeli Prime Minister's recent visit to Berlin. The current pressure on Khartoum is advantageous to the West Sudanese rebel militias and is a continuation of nearly 15 years of persistent attempts to overthrow the Islamic Sudanese government, with the aid of African forces. As Dr. Helmut Strizek, an expert in African affairs, explained in a discussion with german-foreign-policy.com, already in the 90s - under the pretext of human rights - the anti-Khartoum front made use of various rebel militias and East African military regimes. Behind these attempts are geo-strategic considerations and the immense reserves of resources, discovered in Sudan since the 70s. more…

MUNICH/WOLF CASTLE/STOCKHOLM/BERLIN | | schweden

MUNICH/WOLF CASTLE/STOCKHOLM/BERLIN (Own report) - The German MAN Corp.'s takeover of the Swedish Scania truck manufacturer has clouded the intergovernmental relations. MAN proceeded with "unusually crude" methods, deplores Leif Oestling, chairman of the board of Scania and adds, Berlin only has respect for large, "but not for small nations". This is reminiscent of "methods like in the Second World War". The Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has declared the defense against the German MAN Corp. to be government policy. He hopes, "that this crown jewel of Swedish industry remains in Swedish hands", announced Reinfeldt in Stockholm. Automobile production is one of the most important industrial branches of the country, Scania is the fourth largest manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks world-wide. The German MAN Corp. wants to take over Scania, in order to achieve the rank of European automotive industrial leader. If this succeeds, second place will be taken by another German Corporation: DaimlerChrysler, the former front runner. Both DaimlerChrysler and MAN are prominent in the European armaments business. German predominance in the continental truck industry is already overwhelming. more…