Merkel, Hollande Say Further Sanctions Against Russia Loom
Germany and France will draw the "appropriate consequences" if the May 25 election in Ukraine does not go ahead as planned, Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande said in a joint statement issued on Saturday. In their statement, the two leaders said: "If there is not an internationally recognised presidential election, that would lead unavoidably to a further destabilisation of the country. That is a clear reference to the third stage of sanctions, especially economic sanctions against Russia, that European Union leaders agreed on March 6.
Merkel Says Siemens-Alstom Is Above All Corporate Decision
Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday that the German government would positively accompany a tie-up between Siemens and Alstom but said that any link would be first and foremost a corporate decision. Speaking at a news conference with French President Francois Hollande in the Baltic town of Stralsund, Merkel said the German government, at least, does not want to intervene in the corporate decision-making. She said Siemens first has to come forth with an offer. Alstom is the target of a takeover bid from U.S. giant General Electric.
East Ukraine Referendum Raises Fears Of Dismemberment
Rebels pressed ahead with a referendum on self-rule in east Ukraine on Sunday and fighting flared anew in a conflict that has raised fears of civil war and pitched Russia and the West into their worst crisis since the Cold War. Clashes broke out around a television tower on the outskirts of the rebel stronghold of Slaviansk shortly before voters made their way to polling stations through streets blocked by barricades of felled trees, tyres and rusty machinery. "I wanted to come as early as I could," said Zhenya Denyesh, a 20-year-old student voting at a three-storey concrete university building. In nearby Mariupol, scene of fierce fighting last week, officials said there were only eight polling centres for half a million people.
Ukrainian Formin Wants Tougher Sanctions On Russia
The West should impose tougher sanctions on Russia, which is waging a "hidden war" in eastern Ukraine, Ukraine's acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia said in an interview with German newspaper Die Welt. The United States and the European Union have already imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russian individuals and some companies, accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of stoking the eastern rebellions, a charge Putin has denied. "The West should impose more severe sanctions that hit specific economic sectors such as banking and target Russian decision makers…
State Won't Pay For Nuclear Decommissioning - Germany
Germany's economy minister has joined Angela Merkel in rejecting talk that utilities might hand over responsibility for decommissioning Germany's nuclear power plants to a new public entity, as the projected costs of decommissioning rise. "It should not be tax payers who pay for the clean-up of atomic waste but rather those who made money for decades through running nuclear power stations,"Sigmar Gabriel told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag in an interview published on Sunday. Two…
Malta Detains Another 'Charity' Ship
Italy and Malta are refusing to allow charity ships in ports; governments say charity ships help people smugglers. Charities counter that policy will cause more deaths at sea. For the second time in a week, Malta on Monday detained a humanitarian vessel that normally rescues boat migrants off the coast of Libya, where two shipwrecks have claimed the lives of as many as 200 people in recent days. The Sea Watch 3 vessel, operated by a German charity, requested to leave port after undergoing maintenance and the port authority refused, a Sea Watch spokeswoman said.
Italy Refuses Commercial Ship with Migrants on Board
Italy has refused to allow a commercial vessel flying an Italian flag to bring ashore rescued migrants, sticking to a hardline policy on new arrivals as it presses European allies to share the burden of hosting an influx of displaced people.A commercial ship that supplies oil platforms off the coast of Libya pulled 66 migrants to safety on Monday, but it was told not to bring them to Italy, an Interior Ministry source said.Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli, who oversees the coast guard and the country's ports, said the migrants had been transferred to an Italian coast guard vessel on Tuesday after some of them threatened the lives of the Italian crew.They will be brought to Italy…
Libyan Coastguard Picks Up 301 Migrants Headed for Europe
Libya's coastguard picked up 301 African migrants on Thursday from two inflatable boats after their engines failed near its western coast, a spokesman said.Libya is a main departure point for migrants fleeing wars and poverty trying to reach European countries, though crossings have dropped sharply since last July due to a more active coastguard supported by the European Union."The coastguard rescued 301 migrants early this morning, including three women and 46 children from 12 different sub-Saharan countries," its spokesman Ayoub Qassem told Reuters."The illegal migrants were on board two big rubber boats," Qassem said. "The engines of the two boats stopped working in the middle of sea."On Wednesday…
Germany Could Stop RWE Unit Sale
Germany's Economy Ministry is investigating whether to block the sale of RWE's oil and gas unit DEA to a group of investors led by Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman, a spokeswoman said. The German government has never previously made use of a clause in its foreign trade law, under which it could stop the deal announced earlier this year if there were concrete signs it threatened "public safety and order". "An investigation has been started. It is an open-ended investigation (to find out) whether there are conditions for prohibiting the deal under the foreign trade accord…
Shipwrecked Bodies Brought Ashore, EU Proposes Doubling Rescue Effort
The European Union proposed doubling the size of its Mediterranean search and rescue operations on Monday, as the first bodies were brought ashore of some 900 people feared killed in the deadliest shipwreck while trying to reach Europe. Three other rescue operations were underway on Monday to save hundreds more migrants in peril on overloaded vessels making the journey from the north coast of Africa to Europe. The mass deaths have caused shock in Europe, where a decision to scale back naval operations last year seems to have increased the risks for migrants without reducing their numbers. "The situation in the Mediterranean is dramatic.
Leaders for Sustainable Shipping
International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Germany’s 10th National Maritime Conference in Hamburg (4 April), which focused on issues including sustainable growth and the importance of new technologies for the future of the shipping industry. Addressing Chancellor Merkel, the Mayor of Hamburg, German Government ministers and other stakeholders in his keynote speech, Lim emphasized that shipping, supported by IMO’s global regulatory regime, will be central to sustainable global development and growth in the future.
Merkel Visit aims to Soothe EU Migrant Tensions
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will use a visit to Turkey this weekend to try to soothe tensions over a deal meant to stem the flow of migrants to Europe as questions about its effectiveness and long-term viability mount. The pact, which came into force almost three weeks ago, aims to help end the chaotic arrival of migrants and refugees on the Greek islands, many fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa. More than one million reached Europe last year. The deal initially slowed the numbers of new arrivals to Greece sharply, but boats have been coming again with about 150 people a day, indicating the "hermetic sealing" of the route appears to be over, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.
SMM 2014 Witnesses Record Turnout
SMM was another full success. With more than 2,100 exhibitors from all around the world, including 150 first-timers, with 50,000 industry visitors and roughly 90,000 square metres of exhibition space, SMM has demonstrated once again what it means to be the leading international trade fair of the maritime industry. After four days brimming with activity, the 26th SMM came to a close today. "We set new records this year," said Bernd Aufderheide, CEO and President of Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH.
Investors Warm up to German Offshore Wind
German offshore plants attract new investment; offshore energy a key component in switch from nuclear. Start-up costs high, but returns are attractive. Germany's offshore wind parks, once seen as only for brave investors because of high costs and operational risks, are attracting fresh money after laws were passed to ensure ambitious renewables targets are met. British investment firm Laidlaw Capital bought its second German offshore wind park project two weeks ago, following a landmark German offshore wind acquisition by Canadian energy group Northland Power. Chancellor Angela Merkel's government has made offshore wind a priority in the country's "Energiewende", which moves Germany towards alternative energy sources after a decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022.
Chinese Premier to Attend Europe Summit, sign Russia Energy Deal
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will attend a summit of European and Asian leaders on a trip starting next week that will also include a visit to Germany and the signing of energy and high-speed rail deals with Russia, the government and state media said. Li's Oct. 9-16 swing through the continent is the second this year, and culminates in the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in the Italian city of Milan, the foreign ministry said in a statement. It comes as the former British colony of Hong Kong has been rocked by pro-democracy demonstrations, and also as the European Union steps up sanctions on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. In response to the crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned to China.
Migrant Boat Sinks off Libya; 200 Feared Dead
A boat packed with mainly African migrants bound for Italy sank off the Libyan coast on Thursday and officials said up to 200 might have died. A security official in the western town of Zuwara, from where the overcrowded boat had set off, said there had been around 400 people on board. Many appeared to have been trapped in the hold when it capsized. By late in the evening, the Libyan coast guard rescued around 201, of which 147 were brought to a detention facility for illegal migrants in Sabratha, west of Tripoli, the official said, asking not to be named. Another local official and a journalist based in Zuwara confirmed the sinking but also had no information on casualties.
Thyssen Taps Anil Group for Sub Bid
Diversified German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp AG has initiated talks to partner Anil Ambani-led ADAG in building up to 12 submarines in a contract expected to be worth Rs50,000 crore ($7.6 billion), reports PTI. ThyssenKrupp, the Germany-based 41-billion euro company, is one of the aspirants and is banking on positive government-to-government talks when German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits India later this month. "We are at early stage (of talks). All I can say is we have the right product to make in India.
Germany Plans Electric Car Motorway Charging Stations
Germany plans to expand the network of charging stations for electric cars across the country to help boost lacklustre demand, a Transport Ministry paper seen by Reuters showed. Chancellor Angela Merkel's government wants to bring 1 million battery-powered vehicles onto the roads of Europe's largest economy by the end of the decade. But high vehicle costs and drivers' concerns about infrastructure and limited battery range have held back sales in Germany to just 24,000 models out of a market of about 3 million cars, according to government data.
Germany: EU Should Present United Response to U.S. Tariffs
Germany's transatlantic coordinator told a group of newspapers that the European Union should take a common line in responding to proposed U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs. After visiting Washington, Juergen Hardt - a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats - told the RND group of newspapers that an escalation of the conflict with the United States was not in Europe's interests and Europe would stick to a "rule-based world order". He added: "It's important that the European Union does not let itself become divided." Reporting by Michelle Martin
Merkel Backs German Bid to Build Australian Submarine Fleet
Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced her government's support on Friday for a German arms manufacturer's bid to win a $35.7 billion (A$50 billion) contract from Australia to build it a new fleet of submarines. Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) and France's state-controlled naval contractor DCNS are competing with Japan for the deal, seen in part as an Australian effort to counter Chinese assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region. "The German government supports the German bid…
Ukraine launches restricted operation
Ukrainian forces launched a "special operation" on Tuesday against separatist militia in the Russian-speaking East, authorities said, although aside from a landing by airborne troops the action was limited. Soldiers disembarked from two helicopters at an airfield at Kramatorsk, where reporters earlier heard gunfire that seemed to prevent an air force plane from landing. The troops withdrew into barracks after local civilians manning a barricade gave them a hostile reception when they tried to leave the compound. In Kiev, acting President Oleksander Turchinov declared a much-needed victory over pro-Russian rebels by saying the air base had been "liberated." But there was no sign of militants.
Putin set on defusing Ukraine crisis
Foreign ministers from East and West will try to defuse the Ukraine crisis on Thursday in Geneva, once frequently the scene of Cold War negotiations, but will risk being upstaged by Russian President Vladimir Putin. With Russian troops massed on the border with Ukraine, prospects of significant progress at the four-way talks appear slim. By contrast, what Putin says during his annual "hotline" session with the Russian people may have far greater influence on events in Ukraine's rebellious east. Thursday's talks will bring the ministers of Russia, Ukraine and the United Statestogether with the European Union's foreign policy chief to discuss a crisis in which Kiev is struggling to reassert its authority in eastern towns largely controlled by armed pro-Russian separatists.
Give Iran Talks A Chance - Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program have to be given a chance, but sanctions could still be reinstated if needed. Merkel said Iran had to comply with an agreement under which Tehran agreed to limit parts of its nuclear work in return for the easing of some sanctions. "If Iran does not meet its obligations, or does not meet them adequately, we remain ready to take back the current limited suspension of sanctions," she said at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event.