Tag Archives: Eastern Europe

UPDATE sells Euro-2 zone bonds; Italy has set the best month since May | Instant News

* Eurozone periphery government bond yields tmsnrt.rs/2ii2Bqr (Updates throughout)

By Elizabeth Howcroft

LONDON, July 31 (Reuters) – Eurozone government bonds were sold on Friday, both in the core and periphery, with Italian 10-year bonds set as the worst day since early May but still producing strong performance throughout the month.

With the market widely cautious on Friday, analysts said the sell-off could be triggered by an unusual month-end flow.

“I attribute it to long-term, long-term positions from dealers who may be mistaken because of the sale of real cash flow,” said Peter Chatwell, chief of multi-asset strategy at Mizuho.

Analysts were surprised by the move, because the month-end index extension – where funds rebalanced their portfolios to reflect activity during the month – was expected to support bonds at the start of the session.

Italian 10-year yields are at their highest level in more than a week, up 6 basis points (bps) at 1.092% at 1449 GMT.

However, Italian bonds have experienced a decent month, with yields set down 24 bps in July – the best month since May. The paper demand was driven by recovery funds agreed by the European Union last week.

The 750 billion euro fund, which will partly be offered as a grant to the member states hardest hit by the coronavirus, has been hailed as a game changer for the eurozone and has increased Italy’s debt, given concerns about the country’s sustainability. loan.

Italy’s risk premium pays Germany for 10-year debt falling to March lows when the fund was agreed, although it has risen again this week, and is 3 bps wider on Friday at 160.65 bps.

Mizuho Chatwell said the Italian rally that was easing this week could be due to oversupply.

“What happened to BTP was a bit exhausted after recording a number of supplies,” he said.

“I think the market is now saturated with this positivity, but supply continues to run,” he added.

The 10-year German Bund benchmark was set for the best month since April, as investors flocked to safe-haven debt, pushing yields below -0.5%.

Safe-haven bonds are likely to remain supported given the increasing number of coronavirus cases around the world, raising fears of new lockouts.

Global fund managers prefer to cut equities to their lowest level in four years in July while keeping bond allocations unchanged, as hopes for economic recovery fade, a Reuters poll shows.

Data on Thursday revealed a record contraction in Germany – the region’s leading economy – and sent Bund results to two and a half month lows, but there was little reaction on Friday to the euro zone GDP estimates.

But euro zone inflation suddenly rose in July, supporting the European Central Bank’s expectations that negative headline readings could be avoided. (Reporting by Yoruk Bahceli and Elizabeth Howcroft; editing by Gareth Jones and Mark Potter)


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Can Germany now unite the European team? | Instant News

Angela Merkel’s victory in mediating a European Union recovery package 19 could mark the rise of a shared political dream.

One day, I had a dream. I dreamed that I was sitting on the beach in the summer of 2030 and looking back at how Germany saved Europe.

The German Chancellor has been a broker of a European recovery package after the 2020 crisis of 2020, with grants and large loans to help the crisis-hit southern European economy, by utilizing joint European loans. European central powers have maintained constructive relations between the European Union and post-Brexit Britain, helped Poles and Hungarians maintain liberal democracy, which confused Russian President Vladimir Putin by seriously committing to a common European energy policy, using the power of EU regulation to curb Facebook, form a joint strategy in China, and make a prime example of the European Green Agreement.

All this is done by Germany working as “the first of equals” with other European countries, while partnering with the United States and other democracies around the world. In realizing this ambitious agenda, he maintains a civilized and consensual political style and the support of his own people. An extraordinary achievement for Germany and Europe in the early 2030s. What a contrast to the early 1930s.

My reverie was boosted by € 1.8 trillion, seven years of EU budget and a recovery agreement brokered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, along with French President Emmanuel Macron and EU institutional leaders, at a marathon summit last month. The door to this breakthrough was opened by a major change in Germany’s position: accepting the need for fiscal solidarity. Last year, I was very disappointed with the big changes that came from the big coalition government in Berlin debate the only way to get important reforms in Europe is to run that government. History proves me wrong in the way history has the habit of proving everyone wrong – through totally unexpected developments.

With what Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel called the logic of reason in history, the long-delayed German shift was triggered by a previously unknown Asian virus and the ruling of the German constitutional court. The first even made it clear to the skeptical German public that South European countries were suffering from the disaster that no one could say was their own fault – and, therefore, deserved economic solidarity. Finally, firing warning shots across the European Central Bank arc, making it clear that everything cannot be left to the bank’s monetary policy. Fiscal response throughout Europe is also needed. Exactly as I dare hope in comments earlier this year, Merkel had taken the opportunity with both hands. Take your hat off for him.

But there are also long-term developments that support my hopeful dreams. Berlin now has many politicians, officials, journalists, think tanks and foundations that think hard about what a European strategy should be – and not just for the current German presidency in the EU. If the black-green coalition government (combining the Christian Democratic Union, the Christian Social Union, and the Green) emerges from the general election next fall, it will only strengthen Germany’s commitment in Europe. In a recent survey of the European Commission for Foreign Relations recently about foreign policy professionals, 97 percent of them asked the word Germany is the most influential country in the EU and 82 percent identifies it as the “most contacted” country. In Europe, Germany is an indispensable country.

However, awakened from my reverie by the pouring rain (something always pleasant provided in the English summer), I saw two great difficulties on the road. Since the first unification of Germany a century and a half ago, the country has been grappling with the problem that Kurt-Georg Kiesinger, a federal chancellor in the 1960s, called “a critical measure”. Henry Kissinger who is almost the same name: “too big for Europe, too small for the world”. The Kissinger formulation is very brilliant but not exact. Germany is too big to be another European country, but not big enough to be a hegemon even in Europe, let alone in the world.

No matter how wise the German strategy is, it cannot be realized without a set of international partners.

So, no matter how wise the German strategy is, it cannot be realized without a set of international partners. The giant challenges of climate change and the emerging authoritarian superpower, China – which is the early 21st century world like what German Wilhelmine experienced in early 20th century Europe – cannot be overcome unless you have the US under President Joe Biden who returns to constructive internationalism; and the strategic involvement of forces such as Australia, Japan and India. The European problem itself cannot be solved without active involvement not only from France and Spain but also Italy (understandably busy with its own internal problems), Poland (currently peddling anti-German ancient lines), the Netherlands, and others. For foreign and security policy, Europe also needs British influence – which is a big strategic reason for Merkel to try to mediate the Brexit agreement which I believe is still can done this fall.

Another unknown is German public opinion. On that face, there seems to be a solid pro-European international consensus in German society. But, underneath, there are some worrying trends. The outside world is always on the lookout for a possible revival of the Greater Germany tendency, but a more general tendency is the tendency of Greater Switzerland: leave us alone to be rich and free. German stereotypes about southern Europeans in the eurozone begging hard-working and pious Europeans did not just disappear. The way election support is soaring for a nationalist alternative to xenophobia for Germany after the refugee crisis is an alarming sign. So well documented report right wing sympathies in the military and security services. And contemporary German society has not gone through exams in difficult times at home.

Becomes criticized by US President Donald Trump as “delinquent” certainly sucks, but the emotional extremism of Germany’s alienation from the US goes far beyond highly rational anti-Trumpism. Real ideological and geopolitical myopia is deeply revealed findings from the recent Körber Foundation poll that only 37 percent of Germans think having close relations with the US is more important for Germany than having close relations with China, while 36 percent say it is more important to continue with China and 13 percent support equality.

Germany cannot simply juggle the necessary international partners, but this is something in its own hands. As the former leading German ambassador to China, Volker Stanzel, had debateForeign policy can no longer be left to the elite. It needs to be anchored in a much broader process of education and democratic debate. That is all the more true because, because of the country’s critical size and the shadows of its past, the international role that needs to be understood and supported by the German public is historically unusual, difficult, and carefully balanced. For Germany it can never be a prancing hegemon, only a solid and skilled football midfielder that brings the whole team together – and doesn’t even get a round of applause to score. However, sometimes, the midfielder is a true hero of the team.

This article first appeared in the Guardian.

Timothy Garton Ash is a Member of the ECFR Board and Professor of European Studies at Oxford University and Senior Member at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
New edition Magic Lantern, eyewitness accounts of the 1989 revolution, recently published in a number of languages.

Read more about: ECFR Board, European powers, European sovereignty, European strategy

The European Council for Foreign Relations does not take a collective position. This commentary, like all European Council publications for Foreign Relations, only represents the views of the author.


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The German Bund Safe-haven is supported by US / Chinese tensions | Instant News

* Eurozone periphery government bond yields tmsnrt.rs/2ii2Bqr

By Dhara Ranasinghe

LONDON, July 27 (Reuters) – The benchmark 10-year German bond yield slumped Monday as a sign that jitters in world markets over rising US / China tensions pushed investors into safe haven assets.

China took over the place of the US consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu on Monday, after ordering the facility to be vacated in retaliation for last week’s dismissal from its consulate in Houston, Texas.

Worsening relations between the two biggest economies in the world pushed safe havens such as gold and government bonds, allowing German debt to recover from price losses on Friday triggered by stronger-than-expected purchasing manager data (PMI).

Yields on German 10-year bonds were last down about 1.5 basis points at -0.456%, after rising 4 bps on Friday.

“Risk assets are struggling … while for the Bunds the textbook reaction to the PMI combined with another failed test of the -0.50% level leaves 10-year results in the middle of the range,” said Commerzbank pricing strategist Michael Leister.

Italian bond yields are slightly lower, with sentiment towards the periphery supported by increasing confidence that aggressive fiscal and monetary stimulus in the euro area will help dampen its economy from coronavirus attacks.

Yields on Italian 10-year bonds dipped to 1.06%, holding close to the lowest level of 4-1 / 2 months last week. The gap over the 10-year benchmark German Bund yields briefly narrowed to around 148 bps, the most stringent in five months.

European Union leaders last week reached an agreement on a 750 billion euro ($ 878 billion) COVID-19 recovery fund, agreeing to raise billions of euros on the capital market on behalf of all 27 countries, in an act of unprecedented solidarity.

“We think that (the spread of Italian / German bond yields) can tighten 15-20 bps from here, the amount becomes less important than the direction,” said Jorge Garayo, senior level strategist at Societe Generale. “This recovery fund is important because it marks a very important step towards something that was previously taboo – fiscal transfers.”

$ 1 = 0.8542 euros Reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe Editing by David Holmes


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UPDATE 2-Italian bonds are set for the best week in two months | Instant News

* Italian 10-year bond yields fell 16 bps this week

* Set for the biggest weekly decline in 2 months

* German Bund results briefly touched 2-month lows of -0.499%

* Eurozone periphery government bond yields tmsnrt.rs/2ii2Bqr (Add comments, update prices to close)

By Dhara Ranasinghe

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) – The Italian bond market is ready for the best week in two months on Friday, even as borrowing costs rise from 4-1 / 2 month lows set after this week’s agreement on a European Union recovery fund to support the economy hit by coronavirus.

Bond yields across the euro zone rose after data showing eurozone business activity recovered in July and signs of rising US / Chinese tensions prompted investors to take profits on rising prices this week and yields fell.

Yields on Italian 10-year bonds rose 2 basis points to 1.07%, from Thursday’s low of around 1.04%.

However, Italian yields fell around 16 bps this week, set for the biggest weekly decline in two months. According to Tradeweb data, Italian 10-year bond yields fell below 1% on Thursday for the first time since March.

Yields on Spanish and Portuguese 10-year bonds are down about 6 bps this week, Greek yields have fallen 10 bps.

“The impact of the recovery fund is not fully appreciated and is still not fully appreciated,” said Peter Chatwell, head of multi-asset strategy at Mizuho. “The structural part of this story is that it allows the risk of the euro to split to a level that has not been seen for some time.”

In Germany, yields rose from two-month lows after the euro zone flash Composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), seen as a good indicator of economic health, rose to 54.8, the highest since mid-2018 and above forecasts. The final reading for June is 48.5.

The 10-year Bund yield held up to 4 bps at -0.44%, after briefly touching a two-month low in early trade around -0.50% because German bonds also benefited from renewed optimism about the euro area.

Three forces seem to play a role – a strong fiscal response, an aggressive stimulus from the European Central Bank, and a perception of better handling the health crisis versus the United States.

It also helped raise the euro to 21-month highs against the dollar this week.

European Union leaders on Tuesday approved a 750 billion euro recovery fund, which according to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte would allow his government to change Italy. Italy and Spain, the two countries hardest hit by the pandemic, are among the biggest beneficiaries of the agreement.

“We think the Recovery Fund is a key element for Europe’s response to the shock. The ECB is helping to cope with large funding needs but cannot replace every foreign investor in the periphery, “analysts at BofA said in a note.

Reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe; edit by Larry King and Steve Orlofsky


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Italian bonds are set for the best week in two months | Instant News

* Eurozone periphery government bond yields tmsnrt.rs/2ii2Bqr

By Dhara Ranasinghe

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) – The Italian bond market is ready for its best week in two months on Friday, with borrowing costs holding near 4-1 / 2 month lows after an EU recovery fund agreement that will provide support to economies like Italy devastated by coronavirus.

Even US-Chinese tensions that have weighed on investor sentiment and world stock markets failed to place a significant decline in the southern European bond market, which tends to move in line with world risk assets.

Italian 10-year bond yields stabilized around 1.05%, holding near Thursday’s 4-1 / 2 lows at 1.04%. According to Tradeweb data, Italian 10-year bond yields fell below 1% on Thursday for the first time since March.

Italian bond yields have fallen 18 basis points this week and are set for the biggest weekly decline in two months. Yields on Spanish, Portuguese and Greek 10-year debt each fell by around 10 bps.

The German Bund result is a touch lower on Friday at -0.49%.

European Union leaders on Tuesday approved a 750 billion euro recovery, which according to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte would allow his government to change Italy. Italy and Spain, the two countries worst hit by the pandemic, are also among the biggest beneficiaries of the agreement.

In addition, aggressive stimulus from the European Central Bank and signs that the eurozone economy is recovering from coronavirus attacks have boosted investor sentiment towards regional assets. The euro is trading near 21-month highs.

This background encourages what is called a carry trade, where investors borrow at low interest rates and invest in higher yield assets such as Italian debt.

“Flash” Purchasing Managers’ Index of economic activity data in July released on Friday could provide another impetus for sentiment, analysts said.

“Today’s PMI must provide further confidence to catch carry,” said Michael Leister, tariff strategist at Commerzbank. (Reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe; Editing by Catherine Evans)


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UPDATE 2-Italy yields rise from lows after a European Union recovery agreement | Instant News

(Correcting days in the first paragraph to Tuesday)

* Eurozone periphery government bond yields: tmsnrt.rs/2ii2Bqr

By Elizabeth Howcroft

LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) – Eurozone bonds were sold on Tuesday, with Italian yields rising again after reaching the lowest level since early March in early London trade after European Union leaders agreed on a massive coronavirus recovery fund to support the bloc.

The European Union approved 750 billion euros ($ 860 billion) in the early hours of Tuesday after a long summit that lasted nearly five days. The agreement was welcomed by the market as a significant step in shoring up the eurozone economy against the shock of COVID-19.

In a compromise agreement, the package will consist of 390 billion euros in grants – less than the previously targeted 500 billion euros – and 360 billion euros in cheap loans.

The economy that is driven by Italian tourism is among the most severely affected by this virus. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that 28%, or 209 billion euros, would be for Italy, giving the country the opportunity to “start over with force”.

Yields on Italian 10-year government bonds, which have dropped 70 basis points in anticipation of funds since it was first proposed on May 18, fell further on Tuesday morning. It reached 1.117% – the lowest since the first week of March – before recovering to 1.172% at 1457 GMT.

It was set to end the day for the first time after seven consecutive falls.

The spread between core and peripheral yields was tightened, with 10-year German-Italian yields approaching the narrowest in four months before widening again to around 162 basis points. .

“With protracted negotiations being avoided, we see the way cleared for the 10Y Italy-Germany deployment through our 150bp target this summer,” ING strategists wrote in a note to clients.

“The benefits of bringing in peripheral debt, and lower prospective volatility thanks to ECB intervention, make it a superior alternative to core bonds, in our view.”

The spread of Portuguese and Greek in Germany is also getting tougher.

German, French and Dutch results edged up around 1 basis point but were largely unchanged by the news. The German 10-year yield is at -0.454%, after moving in a narrow range of 12 bps so far this month.

“It is possible that the extraordinary non-compliance of the Bunds in the face of peripheral rally reflects the fact that the division of responsibilities promised by the IMF is even more tokenistic than it appears,” wrote Rabobank-level strategists.

The market takes confidence not only from the size of the fund itself but also from demonstrations of solidarity and debt sharing between EU countries.

But European Central Bank Vice President Luis de Guindos said on Tuesday that a new wave of the coronavirus crisis in areas such as the United States, Latin America and parts of Asia could reduce European growth.

ECB board member Isabel Schnabel was quoted on Tuesday as saying that investors should not read too much about decreasing ECB bond purchases, because they could increase later. He said that the ECB would likely use the entire bond purchase quota. ($ 1 = 0.8707 euros)

Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Alison Williams


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The German slaughterhouse reshuffle: Radical reform or return to the status quo? | Business | Economic and financial news from a German perspective DW | Instant News

After years of futile efforts to clean up the German meat industry, politicians are united in the background a set of reforms which according to experts could mark a paradigm shift for this sector. At the heart of the proposal submitted by the Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil is restrictions on the use of subcontractors who have been blamed for encouraging unsafe and exploitative conditions throughout the slaughterhouse.

For decades, German meat processors have cut costs by employing thousands of workers from low-wage countries such as Romania, Bulgaria and Poland. Instead of recruiting workers directly, companies often rely on opaque and layered subcontracted corporate networks; a practice critique says has long allowed them to assume responsibility for workplace conditions.

Referred to as a form of “mordern slavery” this condition helps The German slaughterhouse became a coronavirus hotspot.

At the Tönnies slaughterhouse in northwestern Germany, more than 1,500 workers contracted COVID-19 in June and had to be quarantined. This outbreak also caused the resumption of locking in the two closest districts

Looking for loopholes

Minister Heil’s proposal, which is expected to be released in full by the end of July, will prohibit the use of this type of employment contract, known as Werkverträge, and requires slaughterhouses to directly employ core workers.

Gerhard Bosch, a professor at the Institute for Work, Skills and Training at the University of Duisburg-Essen, described the proposal as a “paradigm shift” for the meat industry. But he worries it will not end exploitation of migrant workers.

Meat companies seem to be looking for – and finding – gaps in the rules. Tönnies has promised to employ 1,000 workers directly in September. But the company faced a reaction after creating 15 subsidiaries to hire workers.

Bosch said that subsidiary companies could be used to divide workers and stamp out collective bargaining efforts. Workers can be divided based on citizenship or occupation, he said, allowing for differences between subsidiaries.

“What Tönnies is clearly trying to avoid is any union,” he said. “That will be a work organization that doesn’t change the same, on the assembly line there will be different companies.”

Migrant abattoir workers in a meat factory cut meat

Migrant workers are faced with long working hours and low wages, made lower by deductions for narrow housing, work equipment and transportation.

Same condition, different industry

The practice of using subcontracted migrant workers to cut labor costs is not limited to meat cutting. This is extensive in construction, package delivery, and even on German strawberry farming.

Germany is one of the biggest destinations for other EU workers. In 2018, Germany accepted around 430,000 so-called posted workers who came to the country for temporary work, according to a study commissioned by the European Commission

The construction industry is a place where many of the workers end. Last year, around 100,000 workers were posted, mostly from Poland and other Eastern European countries, employed in construction.

As in the meat industry, German construction companies often use a complex network of subcontractors to circumvent labor laws. Workers complain about long days, lost wages, and large deductions for housing, equipment and work clothes that make their wages below the legal minimum.

Postal work is also full of exploitation of migrant workers. In February 2019, 3,000 customs officers stormed subcontractors used by German package services such as DHL and Hermes. They found many violations. Some delivery drivers do not have licenses, and about one third of subcontracted employees are paid less than the minimum wage.

The German Parliament responds with a law that makes package companies accountable if their subcontractors fail to pay social contributions or minimum wages to workers. Similar laws cover the construction and meat industries, but fail to end exploitative conditions.

Reducing housing fraud

Bosch blamed the lack of government oversight and weak union representatives for migrant workers for continuing to violate German labor laws.

Many migrant workers do not speak German, only a few understand their rights, and rightly so afraid to raise concerns about conditions for fear of losing their jobs or housing.

“To its limits, these are foreigners who do not know their rights,” he said. Bosch believes tighter restrictions on the use of subcontractors in other industries will help.

But many politicians, including Katja Mast, deputy chairman of the Social Democratic parliamentary group, think the wider ban is inappropriate.

“We are not fighting against employment contracts in general, but we are fighting against the abuse of employment contracts to create second-class workers,” he said.

Instead, Mast prefers to strengthen the rules around housing arrangements that are often regulated for migrant workers by employers.

Ruxandra Empen, a specialist in labor market policy for the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), said workers are often overcharged for housing and face ongoing fears of eviction from apartments if they lose their jobs.

“Workers tend to accept housing offers but there are many losses,” he said. “A lot of sub-standard housing, the rent is quite high. This is a way to avoid minimum wages.”

DGB proposal: limit the cost of housing provided by employers and the task of government authorities by enforcing these requirements.


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Germany warns Turkey about drilling Mediterranean | Instant News

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks at a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens, Greece, July 21, 2020. REUTERS / Alkis Constantinidis

ATHENS (Reuters) – Turkey must stop drilling for natural resources in eastern Mediterranean waters if there is progress in EU-Turkish relations, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Tuesday.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said last week that Turkey would begin seismic research and drilling operations in contested waters covered by an agreement between Ankara and the internationally recognized Libyan government.

“Regarding Turkish drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, we have a very clear position – international law must be respected so that progress in EU-Turkish relations is only possible if Ankara stops provocation in the eastern Mediterranean,” Maas said during a visit to Athens.

Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Michelle Martin, editing by Thomas Escritt


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The late German debate about colonialism | Instant News

Initiatives designed to change German attitudes toward colonial history will be important in enhancing German relations with African countries.

Anyone who plans to travel to the Berlin Foreign Relations Council office in Berlin by metro in the coming months may need to check where to go. A station that is 10 minutes walk from the office can immediately have new name, after the transportation company BVG announced that it would no longer be called ‘Mohrenstraße’ (Moor Street). As the term “Mohr” is generally considered insulting in Germany and offensive to the German black community, the public campaign has been pushing for years to change the name of the road. But resistance from local residents and politicians has prevented action. The debate about the new name for the station is ongoing. Activists have proposed that the roads and stations be named “Anton Wilhelm Amo“- after an 18th-century black philosopher who was the first African to study at a Christian university in Europe. Amo may not be a household name, but he is an interesting symbol of black history in Germany.

This episode is part of the ongoing debate about racism and colonialism in Germany, which reflects public ignorance about their various manifestations in the country. When George Floyd was killed in the United States on May 25, many Germans might see this as a distant American problem. But others – including members of the small but increasingly outspoken black community – reminded Germany of its obligation to discuss structural racism in its institutions, including the police and armed forces.

As well as active everyday racism all levels – from random insults on the road to racial profiling by the police, to discrimination by employers and landlords – right-wing extremism and violent attacks have increased. The only Afro-German Bundestag member, Karamba Diaby, has repeatedly received death threats, and his office has been physically attacked. High Commissioner Office for Human Rights working group said after country visit in 2017 that he was “very concerned about the human rights situation of people of African descent in Germany”. European Council has be criticized Lack of German action in correcting such problems.

This failure is consistent with the lack of public debate about the German colonial past. Germany is widely considered a secondary colonial power compared to countries like Britain or France. However, when Germany entered the colonial race at the end of the 19th century, Germany did it very brutally. In “Deutsch-Südwestafrika”, modern Namibia, German forces committed the first genocide of the twentieth century against the original inhabitants of Herero and Nama, killing a An estimated 80,000 people. In what is now Tanzania, Burundi, and Rwanda, German troops are killed up to 300,000 people.

But this crime is hardly recorded in German public memory. Germany – which is ironically referred to by some historians as “Erinnerungsweltmeister” (world champions remembering the past), because of the pride needed to deal with Nazi-era crimes – hasn’t really become a champion in remembering other dark chapters. about its history, including its involvement in colonialism.

The only Afro-German Bundestag member, Karamba Diaby, has repeatedly received death threats, and his office has been physically attacked.

Even Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal representative for Africa, Günther Nooke, has repeatedly discussed colonial history in dubious ways, once stated that colonialism “liberated Africa from ancient structures”. In 2015, Bundestag speaker Norbert Lammert and members of the government finally called for the German genocide in Namibia. But Germany has not formally apologized for the crime, fearing this would support the call for reparations. Nonetheless, a intergovernmental working group has been trying since 2015 to create conditions for countries to finally make such a move.

Even after this happened, much work will remain for the German government, politicians, and the wider community. They need to create awareness, and establish concrete policies that address German colonial heritage at two levels – regarding cultural memory and ongoing discrimination against people of color in Germany, as well as the country’s relations with African countries.

At the first level, there was an immediate need to change the name of the street and erase or re-contextualize the statues of the most famous culprits in colonial-era crime (many such statues dedicated to colonial ‘heroes’ and their white supremacist ideology were erected in the Nazi era). Politicians must involve the black community in the process. The financial assets and bureaucratic energy it needs should not be a reason to delay further action. As part of this, Germany had to build a central site to memorialise and provide education in the colonial era – something that was surprising because of its absence from the vast memorial landscape of the country. And schools must devote more time to this problem.

Efforts to reach an agreement with the past must also overcome the rampant racism experienced by the Afro-German community and other people of color in Germany. Germany invents a national action plan to combat racism in 2007 and renew it in 2017, while the current coalition government has mentioned the need to overcome German colonial history. But the relative lack of progress in this regard shows why the state needs to invest more resources in the struggle, not least in relation to right-wing extremism.

Initiatives designed to change German attitudes toward colonial history will also be important in enhancing German relations with African countries. While lively debates about stolen artifacts from the colonial period have caused a set of guidelines upon their return, Germany had to expand cooperation with African countries in the region. Germany must invest more in open dialogue with African civil society groups on shared history and support related projects and research on African culture. The German Foreign Ministry has already done it promised to increase its commitment in this field.

It is wrong for Germany to link past crimes with its development assistance to African countries, which must remain focused on the goals of universal human development. As such, the chancellor’s personal representation for Africa must be transferred to the Foreign Ministry or the Chancellor, with debates on colonialism and racism specifically included in the portfolio of roles. Germany has recently stated high ambition to renew its partnership with Africa. Systematic efforts to overcome German colonial history – including difficult questions about reparations and official apologies to African countries – must be the starting point for achieving these goals.

Read more about: Africa, Note from Berlin, Human rights, Europe and the world , European powers

The European Council for Foreign Relations does not take a collective position. This commentary, like all European Council publications for Foreign Relations, only represents the views of the author.


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Italian bond yields fell to lows in early March as the potential for a EU recovery fund deal grew | Instant News

* Eurozone periphery government bond yields tmsnrt.rs/2ii2Bqr

By Yoruk Bahceli

AMSTERDAM, July 20 (Reuters) – Italy’s borrowing costs fell to the lowest level since early March on Monday when signs of a potential agreement began to emerge from a full EU summit aimed at approving a 750 billion euro economic recovery fund.

The proposed fund, which envisages the division of responsibilities in offering grants to the hardest hit countries, has been the main driver of the rally in South European bonds led by Italy since May, following an initial proposal, similar to a Franco-German one.

The summit, which was originally scheduled for Friday and Saturday, stretches to Monday when the fiscal-led countries of the Netherlands strongly reject the size of grants for the countries most affected and demand conditional assistance in economic reform.

But this week’s agreement looks likely after Bloomberg News reported that “thrifty” countries were prepared to receive 390 billion euros from funds offered as grants and the remainder as loans – less than € 500 billion in grants originally proposed by the European Union.

Diplomats had previously told Reuters leaders that they might leave the summit and try again to reach an agreement next month. The summit is postponed from Monday to 1600 CET (1400 GMT).

After the market last week assessed the prospect of an agreement reached at the weekend increasingly unlikely, Italian bonds rallied to the latest optimism at the opening session.

Italian 10-year yields dropped to the lowest level since March 9 at 1.19%, erasing many coronavirus sales which pushed them as high as 3%. Last down 4 basis points today at 1.21%

That reduced the closely watched risk premium Italy paid for its 10-year debt over Germany to its lowest level since the end of March at 163 bps.

“This is very much material, meaning that there will be significant support going forward. But I think what is more important than the current package size is the funds implemented (altogether), “said Peter Chatwell, head of multi-asset strategy at Mizuho in London, who hopes the deal might be sealed later Monday.

But Chatwell also warned that negative headlines surrounding the terms could cancel some of the gains in further trading.

“If there are more rigid and unpleasant conditions, which are more related to the conditions of stability and growth of the pact, or conditions that are usually associated with a bailout agreement, which will break the gap in positivity.”

German 10-year safe-haven yields rose 2 basis points to -0.44%. (Reporting by Yoruk Bahceli Editing by Mark Heinrich)


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