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German report German report
by Euro Reporter
2011-08-29 08:19:16
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Euro bail-out in doubt as "hysteria" sweeps Germany

Mrs Merkel has cancelled a high-profile trip to Russia on September 7, the crucial day when the package goes to the Bundestag and the country's constitutional court rules on the legality of the EU's bail-out machinery. If the court rules that the €440bn rescue fund (EFSF) breaches Treaty law or undermines German fiscal sovereignty, it risks setting off an instant brushfire across monetary union. The seething discontent in Germany over Europe's debt crisis has spread to all the key institutions of the state. "Hysteria is sweeping Germany” said Klaus Regling, the EFSF's director.

German media reported that the latest tally of votes in the Bundestag shows that 23 members from Mrs Merkel's own coalition plan to vote against the package, including twelve of the 44 members of Bavaria's Social Christians (CSU). This may force the Chancellor to rely on opposition votes, risking a government collapse. Christian Wulff, Germany's president, stunned the country last week by accusing the European Central Bank of going "far beyond its mandate" with mass purchases of Spanish and Italian debt, and warning that the Europe's headlong rush towards fiscal union strikes at the "very core" of democracy. "Decisions have to be made in parliament in a liberal democracy. That is where legitimacy lies," he said.

A day earlier the Bundesbank had fired its own volley, condemning the ECB's bond purchases and warning the EU is drifting towards debt union without "democratic legitimacy" or treaty backing. Joahannes Singhammer, leader of the CSU's Bundestag group, accused the ECB of acting "dangerously" by jumping the gun before parliaments had voted. The ECB is implicitly acting on behalf of the rescue fund until it is ratified. A CSU document to be released on Monday flatly rebuts the latest accord between Chancellor Merkel and French president Nicholas Sarkozy, saying plans for an "economic government for eurozone states" are unacceptable. It demands treaty changes to let EMU states go bankrupt, and to eject them from the euro altogether for serial abuses.

"An unlimited transfer union and pooling of debts for any length of time would imply a shared financial government and decisively change the character of a European confederation of states," said the draft, obtained by Der Spiegel. Mrs Merkel faces mutiny even within her own Christian Democrat (CDU) family. Wolfgang Bossbach, the spokesman for internal affairs, said he would oppose the package. "I can't vote against my own conviction," he said. The Bundestag is expected to decide late next month on the package, which empowers the EFSF to buy bonds pre-emptively and recapitalize banks. While the bill is likely to pass, the furious debate leaves no doubt that Germany will resist moves to boost the EFSF's firepower yet further. Most City banks say the fund needs €2 trillion to stop the crisis engulfing Spain and Italy. Mrs Merkel's aides say she is facing "war on every front". The next month will decide her future, Germany's destiny, and the fate of monetary union.

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Germany leads the way in the medical technology market


Germany is known around the world for its automotive and mechanical engineering industries, whose success is reflected in annual export statistics. What isn't so widely known, however, is that Germany also holds a leading position in the medical technology industry.

According to Oliver Koppel from the Cologne Institute for Economic Research, the worldwide success of the German medical industry is proven by the increasing numbers of patent applications submitted. "Over the last 15 years, the number has almost doubled," Koppel said.

Across the wide range of products which German companies offer - from splints and electro-medical equipment to implants and artificial hip joints – the sector generates an annual turnover of around 20 billion Euros. "Sixty percent of the total turnover, around 12 million Euros, is earned abroad," said Koppel, adding that Germany owes its successful in the industry, in part, to an intensive research strategy. Investment in research and development accounts for around 8 percent of medical technology sales. That is double the average investment in other industrial sectors.

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Germany Labour Minister Favours ‘United Europe’


Germany’s Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen is in favour of a “United States of Europe,” Der Spiegel reported, citing an interview.

Von der Leyen said Europe should follow the model of the federal states of Switzerland, Germany or the United States, the magazine cited her as saying in the e-mailed preview of an article that will appear in this week’s edition.

She said the states should take advantage of Europe’s size in the matters of finance, taxes and economic issues, the magazine reported.



      
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Emanuel Paparella2011-08-29 08:52:57
Confederacy is a great idea but in a genuine union the center needs to hold and the leaders need to supply a vision of what union is all about as expressed in a constitution which expresses common values and ideals and supplies a cultural identity. I am afraid the Treaty of Lisbon simply fails to do that. To paraphrase Benso di Cavour at the beginning of Italian unification: Now that we have made Europe, we need to make the Europeans. Which is to say: the cart has been put before the horse and the Prince of Salina in Il Gattopardo has it on target when he said of such a union that everything has to change so that nothing changes. Parmenides has returned with a vengeance...


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