ADDIS ABABA/BERLIN | | aethiopien

ADDIS ABABA/BERLIN (Own report) - German authorities are seeking to enhance German influence in Ethiopia, a country of strategic significance at the Horn of Africa, using several business conferences. Ethiopia is currently regarded as one of the continent's booming countries. Its double-digit growth rates over the past few years have also aroused German business interests. Berlin and Addis Ababa have been closely cooperating in warding off refugees, where Ethiopia's well armed repressive forces have proven very effective partners. The German government is also seeking to intensify its military cooperation with Ethiopia. The Ethiopian armed forces are engaged in the African Union's (AU) efforts to hold down the conflicts in Somalia and prevent them from becoming a serious threat to maritime trade around the Horn of Africa. At times, this includes the use of brutal repression of the Somali civilian population. more…

MUNICH/BERLIN |

MUNICH/BERLIN (Own report) - Already 14 years ago, a high-ranking officer of the German Bundeswehr maintained ties with the most important rightwing extremist think tank in Germany. In early 2003, Erich Vad, colonel at the time, appeared as speaker at the "Institute for State Policy" (IfS) that is entertaining good relations with graduates of the Bundeswehr University in Munich, as well as to the trendy right-wing extremist "identitarian" movement. In 2003, Vad criticized in the institute's journal, the "paralysis of a post-bourgeois political class" in Germany, "whose world view primarily draws on re-education, on the sclerotic rituals of dealing with the [Nazi] past and the 1968 mythology." While Vad moved up to become Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief military policy advisor, the "IfS" has been seeking to intensify its relations with students at the Bundeswehr University in Munich. According to a study, 13 percent of the students at that university feel a political affinity with the "New Right." A First Lieutenant among the soldiers affiliated with the Institute, is today demonstrating in the "identitarian" movement, alongside neo-Nazis. The officer had last served in the mechanized infantry battalion in Oberviechtach. Today, that battalion comprises the largest segment of the German contingent in Lithuania's Rukla. more…

BERLIN/KUWAIT CITY | | kuwait

BERLIN/KUWAIT CITY (Own report) - Berlin is considering deploying German fighter jets in Kuwait to systematically expand its foothold in this Middle East Emirate. It is not yet clear, whether the Bundeswehr's Tornados, currently participating in the anti-IS war, will be removed from Incirlik Air Base or where they may otherwise be stationed. The Kingdom of Jordan or the British colony on Cyprus (Akrotiri and Dhekelia) may be alternatives. Kuwait is also an option, given the fact that the German government has been intensifying its cooperation with the Emirate for quite some time - not only economically but also with arms deliveries. Increasing the German military presence in Kuwait would raise German-Kuwaiti relations to new heights. The Bundeswehr would also gain another foothold directly at the Persian Gulf. So far, particularly the US, British and French armed forces have a presence in that region. more…

BERLIN/ROME/AGADEZ | | niger

BERLIN/ROME/AGADEZ (Own report) - German Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maizière, is calling for the deployment of an EU border protection mission along Libya's border with Niger. Because, so far, efforts to seal the border have not had the desired results, further steps must be taken and "fact-finding missions" should be dispatched to the Libyan-Nigerien desert, de Maizière and his Italian counterpart wrote last week in a letter addressed to the EU Commission. By exerting political pressure and offering training programs, Berlin and Brussels had - successfully - induced the Nigerien repressive organs to intervene against undesirable migrants. However, as was to have been expected, the migrants are now taking alternative - and much more dangerous - routes. According to local human rights groups, this is a direct consequence of European pressure leading to a significant rise in the number of deaths along the transit route through the Sahara. Observers report that the EU is proposing agricultural projects to the impoverished town of Agadez, situated in the middle of the desert - an absurd substitution for its loss of income through the lucrative migration business. more…

BEIJING/BERLIN | | china

BEIJING/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin und Brussels are obstructing China's "New Silk Road" mega project. Last Sunday, the EU refused to sign a declaration pertaining to this project at an international summit in Beijing with representatives from more than 100 countries, including 29 heads of states and governments. Beijing plans to invest trillions in this project to develop overland and maritime transport corridors from East Asia to Europe. It is considered one of today's most important economic-strategic projects. A similar project, initiated by Berlin and Brussels in 1993 was a failure. China seeks new markets for its economy, but also seeks to consolidate unstable regions in the West of the People's Republic. The "New Silk Road" is intended to closely connect the economies in Europe and Asia - without the United States, which had opposed it. German interests are contradictory: While business circles hope for new profits through intensified cooperation, China's rise, propelled by this project, is challenging Germany and the EU's geopolitical interests. Thus, Berlin and Brussels are taking an ambivalent position. more…

BERLIN/ANKARA | | tuerkei

BERLIN/ANKARA (Own report) - The German government is negotiating new German Turkish arms deals, as was confirmed by the German Ministry of Economics. Brigitte Zypries (SPD), Minister of the Economy, spoke with the CEO of Rheinmetall weapons manufacturer about upgrading the Turkish Leopard battle tank. "In principle," such deals with NATO partners "can not to be restricted," according to Berlin. The German government is also seeking to re-invigorate German-Turkish economic cooperation, to strengthen bilateral relations. Germany does not want to loose Turkey as a "bridge" connecting Germany and the EU to the Middle East. Under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Ankara is not only strengthening the country's economy and, in the long run, make it one of the world's top ten economies ("Vision 2023"), he is also planning to transform the country into an independent regional power, forming alliances as it chooses - no longer dependent on the western states. The reorientation of its foreign policy is accompanied by the country's transformation into a presidential dictatorship. more…

BERLIN/LONDON | | grossbritannien

BERLIN/LONDON (Own report) - German business associations are calling on the EU Commission to end its Brexit provocations. An unorderly Brexit would entail enormous costs for the German economy, the President of the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) warned; therefore an amicable Brexit agreement with London must be reached. The Federation of German Industries (BDI) expressed a similar view. The head of the EU's Commission's recent audacious financial demands and deliberate indiscretions have stirred massive resentment in the United Kingdom and were rightfully considered an attempt to influence Britain's upcoming parliamentary elections. Observers attribute these indiscretions to EU Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker's German Chief of Staff, Martin Selmayr (CDU), who is currently playing a key role in the Commission's Brexit negotiations' preparations. The German Chancellery is now calling for restraint in view of the severe damage a hard Brexit could entail for the German economy. more…

BERLIN/CHISINAU | | moldawien

BERLIN/CHISINAU (Own report) - In Southeast Europe, Berlin and the EU are facing a setback in their power struggle with Russia. The Republic of Moldova, once the EU's "model for Eastern Partnerships" - that has been officially associated with the EU since July 1, 2016 - is slowly fading away from Berlin and Brussels' influence. Once pro-Russian President Igor Dodon assumed office, in December 2016, the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) granted observer status to this small southeastern European country. According to recent polls, Dodon's pro-Russian party could expect a clear majority in next year's parliamentary elections. The perspective of a comprehensive rejection of the EU and full admission to the EAEU would no longer be ruled out. This development is the result of Berlin and Brussels' having relied on despised oligarchs, to insure their influence in the Moldovan Republic. One of these, currently in control of the government, seeks to maintain power by changing the voting laws. more…

BERLIN/MOSCOW | | russische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) - In the prelude to Chancellor Merkel's visit to Russia, German business associations and foreign policy experts are urging that the policy of sanctions be ended. They argue that sanctions practically have become ineffective, since Russia's economy has withstood these trade restrictions and is now even recovering. The boycott has also damaged the EU's image and that of the USA in Russia and, even though intended to weaken, it has helped to stabilize the Russian government. Moreover, Russian orders, that German businesses had once expected, were increasingly going to competitors, for example in China - and are ultimately lost. However, German economists still see Russia as a lucrative market. According to an analysis by the Bertelsmann Foundation and Munich's ifo Institute, a free-trade agreement between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), congregated around Russia, would generate a growth of 45 billion euros. Government advisors recommend that the sanctions policy be gradually ended. This would not eliminate the prospect that Moscow, at any time, could be forced to its knees with an arms race. more…