The Germans are a funny bunch. Germany is certainly Europe’s most successful nation and yet probably among the most stressed of its people. Just a few of my observations as we enter an uncertain 2020. Oh mein Gott!
Stuttgart– I must give credit where credit is due: the Germans listen to each other. I think this is in part because German grammar throws their verbs at the very end of every sentence which forces you to wait for the conclusion to know what they are really trying to say before you can yell back. For those who don’t understand German, it is easy to think they only discuss serious things which, in fact, is not necessarily wrong.
I am afraid the impeachment proceedings in DC have as much to do with rewriting history to make war as they do about getting rid of Donald Trump. The fact the press refuses to challenge the anti-Russian hysteria and set the facts straight is worrisome. Could hate for Trump be so great they are ready to stumble into yet another war?
In an interview with the Economist published November 7, French President Emanuel Macron said: “NATO is brain dead.” After nearly three years of attacks by President Trump and a rapprochement of NATO member Turkey with Russia, here yet is another nail in the coffin of an alliance that should have died with the fall of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union in 1991.
Forty-thousand French citizens could find themselves without a bank account at the end of the year because French banks are unable to meet the US tax information reporting law known as FACTA (1), according to Laurent Mignon, the head of the French Banking Federation, FFB. In all there could be more than 300 thousand people across Europe who will have no place to park their money and collect their salaries in 2020.
Emmanuel Macrons says Europe can no longer rely on the US for its security. He is calling for a European defense initiative which could sideline Nato and has begun bilateral talks with potentially willing EU members. He is even ready to discuss a separate security partnership with Russia. But so far the response is cautious. Europe does not seem ready for France to lead another Grande Armée.
German tax payers will not pay other people’s debt. This is in substance what the Chancellor, Angela Merkel, told the Frankfurter Algemeine Sonntagszeitung, June 3, when she said there could be no “union of the debt.” The comment was in response to news out of Italy that the new ‘populist’ coalition wants the European Central Bank to forgive 250 billion euros in Italian debt. The problem is, when you forgive debt, someone has to pay, and in Europe, that someone is Germany; the only EU country whose economy is strong enough to prop up the euro.
by S.G. Kazolias: President Emmanuel Macron campaigned to put an end to what he called “Social Dumping” —- the practice of temporarily hiring workers from poorer EU countries at the minimum wage and paying their much lower social security in their home country. On March 1, EU delegates in Brussels agreed to revise the 1996 accord allowing this. But getting all EU countries to agree may be harder.
When the then 12 EU members approved the 1996 ‘Posted Workers’ directive, labor costs between the different countries was one to three. As the EU enlarged to 28 with the former Soviet Block countries, that differential became one to ten and employers took advantage of it. Skilled labor was brought in from countries like Bulgaria, Romania and Poland at a fraction of the cost.