BERLIN/LONDON/EDINBURGH | | grossbritannien

BERLIN/LONDON/EDINBURGH (Own report) - Berlin's foreign policy is in support of Scottish nationalists, preparing to hold a second referendum to secede from the United Kingdom. Last week, Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of the Scottish regional government and chairperson of the Scottish National Party (SNP), was received in the German capital for confidential talks with representatives of the German foreign policy establishment, including with Michael Roth (SPD), Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Officially, the meetings were focused on the Brexit, bitterly opposed by Sturgeon and the Scottish nationalists. However, Sturgeon was, in fact, also pleading for support for her secessionist project and to bring Scotland, as an independent country into the EU. About three years ago, German government representatives had already been in support of this plan. However, a reliable Scottish majority, needed for this project, is nowhere in sight. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - The German government seeks to expand civilian-military interventions abroad, to obtain a more favorable position in the global struggle for spheres of influence. To meet the challenge in the context of the "great-power rivalry between the United States, Russia and China," the EU military missions must be combined with "civilian assistance," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) declared recently. This "networked approach" should become "a hub" for EU-policy and lead to the creation of a "crisis prevention center" in Berlin. The plan is particularly to train police officers and other "rule-of-law experts" to be deployed in countries, where "German interests" appear threatened by "outside influence." "Legitimate partners," such as the governments of Mali or Afghanistan or opposition forces, as in Syria, could be "strengthened," explains the German Foreign Ministry. more…

BERLIN/LONDON/PARIS | | grossbritannien

BERLIN/LONDON/PARIS (Own report) - Brexit will reduce by one third the EU's share of global capital markets and will shift relations within the EU in France's favor, as was revealed in a recent study on the impact the UK's departure will have on the Union's financial sector. Brexit will therefore reduce the EU's share of global capital market activities to 14 percent - around one third the size of the US and roughly the same as China. France will become number one among the EU-27 - a bit ahead of Germany. The shrinkage can also be attributed to the fact that the EU was unable to induce major banks and other financial institutions, on a large scale, to relocate from London onto the continent. Brussels has tried to use strict regulations, stipulating that financial transactions within the EU may only be conducted by legally independent entities within an EU country. However, the financial sector has limited its relocation onto the continent to only the bare essentials. The anticipated banking boom, for example, in Frankfurt, is not materializing. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/BEIJING |

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Own report) - The future EU Commission should play a "geopolitical" role and provide the Union with a leading position in global policy, confirmed Commission President Elect Ursula von der Leyen, whose team, according to observers, shows a newfound "lust for power." Von der Leyen’s plans for the coming five years are very much in line with Berlin's plans to position the Union as an independent global power between the USA and China. French President Emmanuel Macron shares this project and - in view of the escalating conflict between Washington and Beijing - cautions that, if it fails, all influence on global policy would be lost. Influential German business circles opine that a German-European intermediate position cannot be avoided. Otherwise they would lose business with China and suffer severe setbacks. According to transatlantic circles, however, sooner or later, Berlin and Brussels will not be able to avoid siding with Washington. more…

ROSTOCK/COPENHAGEN |

ROSTOCK/COPENHAGEN (Own report) - Under German command, numerous NATO member countries and close allies are participating in a naval exercise - that ends on Thursday - for the control of Baltic maritime routes. The Bundeswehr provides, by far, the largest contingent in this year's "Northern Coasts" naval exercise (September 3 to 19), taking place in the context of the escalating conflict between western countries and Russia. Due to this conflict, not only Eastern Europe, but the Baltic Sea, as well, has been gaining strategic importance. This is comparable to the Baltic Sea's importance during the Cold War. Germany is participating in NATO's remilitarization of the Baltic Sea, seeking to assume a regional leadership role and enhance its standing within NATO. The new Maritime Forces Staff, DEU MARFOR, based in the naval headquarters being set up in Rostock, also serves this purpose. In the future, it will be able to provide command for NATO, as well as EU wars. more…

BERLIN/BEIJING | | china

BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) - With its professionally choreographed reception of Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong, Berlin is presenting itself to the international public as the Chinese opposition's foreign hub. Wong was personally welcomed in Berlin by the Foreign Minister, and, he demanded at the Federal Press Conference that action be taken against China. Germany has already granted asylum to two other dissidents from Hong Kong, who had been calling for the city's secession from China and have been indicted for their participation in riots. For decades, Uighur separatist associations have had their foreign operational base in the Federal Republic of Germany, including one accused of participating in preparations of the pogrom-like riots, which claimed the lives of nearly 200 people. German politicians are supporting Tibetan separatists as well - seeing them as a point of leverage for weakening the People's Republic of China. A Chinese writer, who called China a "pile of garbage," was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. more…

BERLIN/BEIJING/HONG KONG | | china

BERLIN/BEIJING/HONG KONG (Own report) - Monday evening, activist Joshua Wong arrived in Berlin from Hong Kong for talks with German politicians, including Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Wong represents an opposition party that calls for a referendum, including a vote on Hong Kong's future secession from China. Just before his trip to Berlin, demonstrators rallied on Sunday in front of the US consulate in Hong Kong calling on US President Trump to intervene in their favor with the city authorities. Already since March, high-ranking members of Hong Kong's opposition have repeatedly visited Washington for talks with US Vice President Mike Pence and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Berlin is now following suit and receiving leaders of the Hong Kong protests for talks with top government officials. Washington is preparing new legislation for sanctions providing for punitive measures against Chinese officials and putting Hong Kong's special economic status into question. Billions in German business transactions are also at risk. more…

Recently a party represented in the German parliament (Bundestag) published its program for the military. The program is not secret. The voters going to the polls in 2 German states on September 1 could know this program. Up to 28 percent of the voters have chosen the party with this program. It wants to further militarize Germany. The 28 percent party is calling for a radical "restoration of the German Bundeswehr." The military draft should be reinstated and the number of troops "be raised to 23,000 soldiers" – as a "first step." An additional 50,000 man reserves would be necessary. The German military, it literally states, "would be authorized to intervene domestically." The "foreign duties" of the Bundeswehr should be exercised "in every corner of the earth." In Europe: it lays "claim to a military commanding role" – because of "Germany's geographic situation and economic prominence." The highest command level will be a German "General Staff." Germany should also be in command of the European NATO. And finally, being the commanding nation, Germany must insist on "participation" in NATO's "nuclear capabilities." more…

Under Fire

BERLIN/BAGHDAD | | irak

BERLIN/BAGHDAD (Own report) - While Berlin is pushing for the prolongation of the Bundeswehr's deployment in Syria and Iraq, German soldiers have come under fire north of Baghdad. Last weekend, several mortar rounds were fired at Camp Taji, one of the Iraqi armed forces' largest bases, where German soldiers are training Iraqi military personnel. Officially, the training is part of the ongoing war against the IS, whose remaining structures are still operating underground. Normally, German participation in that war is due to end on October 31. The German government now seeks to prolong this deployment to emphasize its efforts to gain influence in the Middle East, also militarily - against the SPD, which until now has opposed the measure. However, there are signs that the SPD is changing course. At least, there is a danger that in Iraq, the German contingent in Baghdad could be drawn into the escalating confrontation between the USA and Iran as can be seen by the recent mortar attacks. more…