Germany and other western European powers need to work with Russia as well as the United States to solve the crisis in Syria, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday. Merkel was speaking ahead of a meeting of the German, Russian, French and Ukrainian foreign ministers being held in Berlin on Saturday evening.
“Brutal. …Violent. … A crucifixion.” In Brussels, the world capital of circumlocution where “difficult” is as bad as it gets, such language is nothing short of unthinkable. Yet these words were blurted out by eurozone ministers and bureaucrats as they staggered out of Sunday night’s collective mugging of Alexis Tsipras. Notwithstanding the general, and justified, exasperation with Greek tricksmanship, there was an atmosphere almost of guilt. For something very un-European had happened. Under threat of expulsion from the club as a delinquent bankrupt, a member of the eurozone had been subjected to a Diktat whose terms effectively reduce Greece to the status of a protectorate of the European Union.
Germany conceded on Thursday that Greece would need some debt restructuring as part of any new loan program to make its economy viable as the Greek cabinet raced to finalize reform proposals to avert an imminent economic meltdown. The admission by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble came hours before a midnight deadline for Athens to submit a reform plan meant to convince European partners to give it another loan to save it from a possible exit from the euro.
The German government signaled a tough line towards Greece on Monday, saying it saw no basis for new bailout negotiations and insisting it was up to Athens to move swiftly if it wanted to preserve its place in the euro zone. With opinion towards Greece hardening in Germany's ruling coalition following the landslide rejection of European bailout terms in a Sunday referendum, the government indirectly raised the prospect of a Greek exit from the currency bloc.
After five years of bailouts, budget battles, and a battered economy, Greece is on the brink of becoming the first country to ever leave the eurozone. Now, if it seems like you've been hearing some variation of that for awhile now, that's because you have. This time might be different, though, since all the bad things people had only worried would happen are happening. Greece's government has said it will miss its next debt payment, its banks have been forced to close, and its people are about to vote about whether they want to stay in the eurozone or not. Other than that, how was the play, Ms. Merkel?
Seventy years after Adolf Hitler’s suicide, Germany’s unconditional surrender in World War II and its isolation and breakup, the country is a colossus once again, and its chancellor was just named by Forbes as the world's most powerful woman. Angela Merkel, one of the globe’s most respected and influential statespersons, is playing a central role on at least two issues of global importance: Western relations with Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the coherence and continuing survival of the EU and the common European currency, the Euro. On both matters Merkel has had a calming and stabilizing influence. She clearly is the European voice in world affairs.
German authorities said on Friday they had found torn-up sick notes showing that the pilot who crashed a plane into the French Alps was suffering from an illness that should have grounded him on the day of the tragedy. French prosecutors believe Andreas Lubitz, 27, locked himself alone in the cockpit of the Germanwings Airbus A320 on Tuesday and deliberately steered it into a mountain, killing all 150 people on board. "Documents with medical contents were confiscated that point towards an existing illness and corresponding treatment by doctors," said the prosecutors' office in Duesseldorf, where the co-pilot lived and where the doomed flight from Barcelona was heading.
An Airbus operated by Lufthansa's Germanwings budget airline crashed in a remote snowy area of the French Alps on Tuesday and all 150 on board were feared dead. French President Francois Hollande said he believed none of those on board the A320 had survived, while the head of Lufthansa spoke of a dark day for the German airline. Germanwings confirmed its flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Duesseldorf crashed in the French Alps with 144 passengers and six crew members on board.
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