BERLIN/WOLFSBURG |

BERLIN/WOLFSBURG (Own report) - The German government ensured German national control over the Volkswagen Corp. and its planned expansion, through a consolidation maneuver with the Porsche Corp. The reason behind this move is the court decision, soon to be pronounced, against a German special law (the "Volkswagen Law") permitting the German state to attain a controlling share in the automobile industry in Wolfsburg. Porsche increased its Volkswagen shares and, along with the German land, Lower Saxony, holds the majority of shares. The possibility of a takeover by foreign shareholders has now been averted. This was accomplished in time for the next Volkswagen attack on the Swedish truck producer, Scania. German enterprises are enhancing their positions in the international competition of buying out competitors. For years, the proportion of German takeovers abroad has been superior to the number of foreign takeovers in Germany. In 2006, German enterprises invested nearly twice as much capital abroad, than was invested by these countries enterprises in Germany. The German Ministry of Economics announced that it will continue - "with all bluntness" - to support German economic hegemony in Europe. more…

MOGADISHU/BERLIN | | aethiopiendjiboutisomalia

MOGADISHU/BERLIN (german-foreign-policy.com) - The German EU Council Presidency has announced aid for the Somali "transitional government" put in place by western powers, to finance a reconciliation conference. In accordance with the wishes of Berlin and Brussels, this conference will take place in Mogadishu in mid-April, with the intention of stabilizing the so-called transitional government, divide the opposition and therefore, in the long run, keep anti-western forces from regaining power in Somalia. This "transitional government" is but a civilian extension of the Ethiopian occupation forces, which provides the German government with new means of gaining influence. For several years, Germany has been extending its influence in Ethiopia and currently has an excellent position. If the Ethiopian occupation regime is a failure, it is expected that the country will irretrievable split along the lines of the former colonial borders. Germany had, years ago, already established its influence in the region of a potential secession called "Somaliland" by helping to build the infrastructure. more…

HARARE/BERLIN | | simbabwe

HARARE/BERLIN (Own report) - The German presidency of the European Council is using new attempts to overthrow the government of Zimbabwe, to intensify the pressure on President Robert Mugabe's government. The German government insists that Mugabe enters into direct talks with the Berlin-supported opposition. The German minister for Economic Cooperation is calling on Zimbabwe's neighboring nations to "finally unambiguously express" opposition to Mugabe and take measures accordingly. The reason for the years of western campaigning against the Zimbabwean President, is the radical land reform, that has led to the expropriation of the white large landowners, the heirs of old colonial elites. Berlin is afraid that Mugabe's concept of land reform could be copied by other states in Southern Africa, including Namibia, where the heirs of German colonialists would be affected. Because of international pressure, hefty dissention has arisen inside the president's own party. "In any case, there has never been a better opportunity for getting rid of him" writes the German press. more…

BERLIN/GUETERSLOH |

BERLIN/GUETERSLOH (Own Report) - In spite of days of controversy, today's signing of the "Berlin Declaration" went ahead without amendment. The pivot and crux of the controversy is the announcement of an intended replacement for the failed EU constitution which will have the same content under a different title and is to be ratified as quickly as possible. This arrangement has occasioned great displeasure in several European capitals. The most influential German think tank, the Bertelsmann Foundation, maintains that European unification must be driven forward; the greatly contested EU constitution is to be merely the "point of departure". For the first time, the foundation recently presented a draft paper to top politicians from twenty European countries and the USA over the "strategic reorientation" of the EU in which it recommended, as a first step, that the national armed forces of all member states should be combined into a single EU army. The German Chancellor has taken up this suggestion. Frau Merkel warned against refusing so-called integration. She said "The ideal of European unification is today again a matter of war and peace". more…

BERLIN/PARIS | | frankreich

BERLIN/PARIS (Own report) - A "Berlin Declaration" will give the EU summit on Sunday (March 25) the "initial spark" for the ratification of a slightly modified EU Constitution. As confirmed by the chairman of the relevant working group of the conservative CDU/CSU parliamentary (Bundestag) group, Michael Stuebgen, the declaration negotiated secretly, will, for tactical reasons, not mention the word "constitution," but will contain its "political substance." The German chancellor reserves for herself the final formulation of the document. The "Berlin Declaration" is supposed to be the crowning moment of the festivities on the weekend celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome. The festive event is to celebrate the "unprecedented success story" (Foreign Ministry), in the course of which Germany, with the help of the Washington, successfully nullified conceptions of Europe held by the French resistance to the Nazis. "France's Germany policy died, when the German-American post-war alliance began" - in the summer of 1945, judges the French historian, Prof. Annie Lacroix-Riz in a discussion with german-foreign-policy.com. In the conflict around the EU constitution, France again relents. Both of the principal contenders in the French presidential race plan to have the draft treaty ratified, in spite of the May 2005 referendum defeat. more…

KABUL/BERLIN/GUETERSLOH | | irakafghanistan

KABUL/BERLIN/GUETERSLOH (Own report) - The German government intends to remain steadfast in spite of the announced intention to execute German hostages. March 19, the German chancellor declared that the rejection of the kidnappers' demand for the withdrawal of German troops from Afghanistan was "the right signal". Mrs. Merkel called any consequences, this could have on the lives of the hostages, "bitter" but unavoidable, because Berlin "will not bow to blackmail." The president of the imposed Afghan administration, Hamid Karzai, advised Berlin to maintain an unaccommodating course in its occupation policy, that could be made more efficient with additional foreign military aid. The Kabul administration's foreign minister added that Germany should continue its "engagement," even if this proves "costly." Included in the German engagement in Afghanistan is the branch office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, whose director is a sponsor of the "Transformation Thinkers" network run by the federal government's German Association for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the Bertelsmann media corporation. This network also maintains the corresponding contacts to Iraq. The "Transformation Thinkers" are members of the elites of threshold and developing countries. Their function is to insure that the economies of their homelands are compatible with the world market, maintaining close ties to western powers. A "Transformation Index" developed by Bertelsmann provides the orientation standards, dividing the world into "reform states" and the so-called "modernization rejecters". more…

NUREMBERG/JAKARTA | | indonesien

NUREMBERG/JAKARTA (Own report) - The German presidency of the European Council is demanding that the states of Southeast Asia agree to EU military interventions. Preceding the March 14 and 15 meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers with their Southeast Asian, ASEAN, counterparts, it was said that last December's termination of European troop deployment in Indonesia (Aceh), is to be understood "in the region" as "evidence" of the "readiness" to engage in new operations. Proclaimed possible targets of EU security policy activities are Myanmar, the People's Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) and piracy. ASEAN is of high geo-strategic significance, because important trade routes cross the territories of several of its member states. The German government is also striving for a stronger position in the region directly bordering on the major power, China. In this region, the competition between the USA, European states and a re-consolidating Russia is becoming more intense. Beijing is also participating in this struggle and seeks to retain its traditional sphere of hegemonic influence. more…

LONDON/BERLIN | | grossbritannien

LONDON/BERLIN (Own report) - British trade unions announce new protests against the privatization of the National Health Service and several German buyers. Hospital strikes took place last autumn, over the Deutsche Post subsidiary, DHL, being granted a billion Euro contract for lucrative logistics services for the National Health Service (NHS). The conflict will be continued beyond last Saturdays demonstrations. The privatization measures are being sharply criticized in Great Britain, because they will lead to the shutting down of numerous health service facilities and to the deterioration of treatment. The risk of infection in British hospitals, for example, has notably increased since private businesses provide services, according to trade unionists in a discussion with german-foreign-policy.com. The EU Constitution Treaty that the German government would like to see implemented, in spite of the failed referenda in two states, would favor privatizations of health services in other EU member states. German companies are in the "starting blocks" ready to take over hospitals all over Europe. more…