(September 2013) The German federal elections produced a surprising result. For the first time since 1994, the CDU/ CSU in a landslide victory secured more than 40% of the vote, 41.5% to be precise. The conservatives are now almost back to their long-term average of 43%. They fell short of the absolute majority in the Bundestag by just 4 seats. This is a huge personal victory for Chancellor Merkel, as well as confirmation of her cautious centrist policy course in domestic affairs and the balanced approach to euro crisis management. Of course, the CDU/ CSU will be in a predominant position in any upcoming coalition.
(August 2013) Alfred Ritter heads Germany's second biggest chocolate company, especially known for its Ritter Sport brand. Ritter's company is one of the successful mainly family-run Mittelstand firms.
(August 2013) Germany achieved a budget surplus in the first half of 2013 as growth recovered in the second quarter following the stagnation of the winter months.
(August 2013) In 2011, following the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami, the German government gave in to public pressure to phase out the nuclear industry and it adopted a goal to also abandon fossil fuels. Two years later, some German's are losing enthusiasm for the shift from nuclear and fossil fuel to mainly wind and sun. While, the policy is still supported by most Germans, the moods of many are slowly changing.
(August 2013) Germany's merchandise trade surplus with the other 16 countries of the Eurozone was only €1.5bn in H1 2013 compared with €75bn with countries outside the EU.
(August 2013) Housing prices in Germany’s biggest cities are rising at the fastest pace since reunification in 1990 as investors seeking to capitalise on growth in Europe’s biggest economy turn to property, according to data compiled by Berlin-based research firm Bulwien Gesa AG. However, there is no bubble.
(June 2013) Germans have been told that cheap labour is no basis on which a rich country should compete. Yet, it has been claimed that has been the basis of the lion's share of Germany's export success in the last dozen years - - and exports have been the sole consistent source of economic growth for Germany over the same period. For too long, the idea that trade surpluses somehow prove a nation's economic worth has persisted in Germany. The resulting false sense of security has combined with the problems of Germany's southern neighbours in the euro area to make it seem that everything in the current coalition's economic policies, and with the German economy, is as good as it needs to be. But it is not.
(June 2013) Many European immigrants from crisis countries to Germany do not stay long, mainly because of problems with the language. Most employers seek a good knowledge of German.
(May 2013) Li Keqiang wrapped up his first official visit abroad as Chinese premier on Monday with a clear and strong message to Europe: more cooperation, less protectionism. In Germany, the last stop of his four-nation tour, Li reiterated China's firm opposition to the European Union's plan to launch a trade probe into Chinese mobile telecommunications products and slap punitive duties on Chinese solar panels. However, The European Union's trade chief bluntly told China on Tuesday it was wasting its time trying to put pressure on him to drop plans to impose punitive import duties on Chinese solar panels. A majority of European countries, led by Germany and the UK, oppose the moves by Karel De Gucht, the EU trade commissioner, to levy tariffs of 47% on solar panel imports from China next month, according to a survey by Reuters.
(May 2013) The solar photovoltaic (PV) market is poised to rise from the ashes of its 2011 crisis and grow to $155bn in 2018, as market forces engineer a turnaround to a healthy 10.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). The sun set on Suntech, the aggressive Chinese market leader in March when it filed for bankruptcy, amidst fraud allegations. Meanwhile, a study commissioned by the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy estimated that up to 242,000 EU jobs could be sacrificed by punitive duties imposed by the EU on China, over three years. Karel De Gucht, EU trade commissioner, is targeting trade that was valued at €21bn in Chinese solar products exported to Europe in 2011. De Gucht has recommended that such products face duties averaging 47% after deciding that Chinese manufacturers illegally dumped their products, or sold them below cost, in Europe.