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Sigmar Gabriel: To survive, the EU must become more assertive

جرمن وزیر خارجہ نے کہا ہے کہ یورپ کو اپنے مفادات اور اقدار کے تحفظ کے لیے زیادہ فیصلہ کن کردار ادا کرنا ہوگا اور اگر ضروری ہو تو امریکا کے خلاف بھی کھڑا ہونے سے گریز نہ کیا جائے۔ جرمن وزیر خارجہ زیگمار گابرئیل کا دارالحکومت برلن میں خارجہ پالیسی کی کانفرنس سے خطاب کرتے ہوئے کہنا تھا، ’’امریکا کا عالمی غلبہ اب آہستہ آہستہ تاریخ کا حصہ بنتا جا رہا ہے۔‘‘ ان کا خبردار کرتے ہوئے کہنا تھا کہ عالمی سطح پر پیدا ہونے والے خلا کو پُر نہ کرنا انتہائی خطرناک ثابت ہو سکتا ہے۔ جرمنوں کی نظر میں ٹرمپ شمالی کوریا اور روس سے زیادہ بڑا خطرہ زیگمار نے واضح کیا کہ امریکا اب بھی یورپ کا قریبی اتحادی رہے گا لیکن واشنگٹن کے ساتھ اختلافات پر بات کی جانی چاہیے اور اسے سرخ لائن عبور کرنے کی اجازت نہیں دی جانی چاہیے۔ جرمن وزیر خارجہ نے خاص طور پر روس کے خلاف امریکی پابندیوں کا حوالہ دیا، جس کی وجہ سے یورپ میں توانائی کی کمپنیوں کو مشکلات کا سامنا ہے۔ اسی طرح انہوں نے ایران کے ساتھ ہونے والے جوہری معاہدے کا دفاع کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ امریکی صدر کو یہ معاہدہ ختم کرنے کی اجازت نہیں دی جانی چاہیے۔ جرمن وزیر خارجہ نے امریکا کی مشرق وسطیٰ کے حوالے سے نئی پالیسی پر بھی تنقید کی۔ ان کا کہنا تھا اگر امریکا نے یروشلم کو اسرائیل کا دارالحکومت تسلیم کیا تو مشرق وسطیٰ میں ایک نیا تنازعہ سر اٹھا لے گا۔ ماحولیاتی معاہدہ، امریکا دنیا میں تنہائی کا شکار جرمنی اور امریکا کے مابین شدید اختلافات کا آغاز ڈونلڈ ٹرمپ کے صدر بننے کے بعد ہوا تھا۔ ٹرمپ نے صدر بنتے ہی جرمنی کے امریکا کے ساتھ ٹریڈ سرپلس پر تنقید کی تھی اور برلن حکومت کو نیٹو اتحاد کے لیے اضافی رقم ادا کرنے کا کہا تھا۔ اس کے بعد واشنگٹن اور برلن حکومت کے مابین اس وقت بھی اختلافات دیکھنے میں آئے تھے، جب امریکا نے پیرس عالمی ماحولیاتی معاہدے سے نکل جانے کا اعلان کیا تھا۔ جرمن وزیر خارجہ کے مطابق صدر ڈونلڈ ٹرمپ نے ’امریکا سب سے پہلے‘ کی پالیسی اپنا رکھی ہے اور اس وجہ سے عالمی سیاست میں اس کا کردار پہلے جیسا نہیں رہا۔ زیگمار کا زور دیتے ہوئے کہنا تھا کہ جرمنی کو اب امریکا پر اپنا انحصار کم سے کم کرنا ہوگا اور عالمی سیاست میں بھی اپنے کردار کو بڑھانا ہوگا۔

Sigmar Gabriel declared at a foreign policy forum that relations with the US will “never be the same” after Trump. He warned institutions like the EU and the UN that they were running the risk of becoming irrelevant. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel offered a bleak view of international relations and Germany’s place in the new world order at the ... Read More »

PESCO: EU paves way to defense union

The majority of EU nations have committed to a joint defense cooperation, focusing on military operations and investments. Europe is looking to cement unity, especially since Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. Defense and foreign ministers from 23 European Union countries signed up to a plan to establish the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), which will allow countries to cooperate more closely on security operations and building up military capability. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini described the signing of PESCO as a "historic moment in European defense." "This is the beginning of a common work - 23 member states engaging both on capabilities and on operational steps, that's something big," Mogherini said. The decision to launch PESCO indicates Europe's move towards self-sufficiency in defense matters instead of relying solely on NATO. The EU, however, also stressed that PESCO is complimentary to NATO, in which 22 of the EU's 28 countries are members. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the launch, saying that he saw it as an opportunity to "strengthen the European pillar within NATO." Stoltenberg had previously urged European nations to increase their defense budget. "I'm a firm believer of stronger European defense, so I welcome PESCO because I believe that it can strengthen European defense, which is good for Europe but also good for NATO," Stoltenberg said. Who is involved? Under the scheme, EU member states will be able to develop greater military capabilities, invest in joint projects and increase the readiness of their troops. Participation in PESCO is voluntary for all of the EU's 28 member states 23 countries have signed up to the plan Ireland, Portugal and Malta are still undecided whether or not to join Denmark, which has a special opt-out status, is not expected to participate The United Kingdom, which is scheduled to leave the EU in 2019, is not part of PESCO either but can still choose to take part in certain aspects even after Brexit - if that participation is of benefit to the entire EU. Those who didn't sign initially can still join at a later date and countries not living up to their expected commitments could be kicked out of the group. With the notification signed, a final decision to launch the defense cooperation framework is expected in December. The reaction from Germany German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said it was important for Europe to stand on its own feet when it comes to security and defense - "especially after the election of the US President," referring to President Donald Trump's dismissive attitude towards NATO. "If there is a crisis in our neighborhood, we have to be able to act," she said. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel meanwhile also lauded the agreement as "a great step toward self-sufficiency and strengthening the European Union's security and defense policy – really a milestone in European development." Gabriel said that working together under the framework of PESCO was "more economical than if everyone does the same. I think that European cooperation on defense questions will rather contribute to saving money - we have about 50 percent of the United States' defense spending in Europe, but only 15 percent of the efficiency."

The majority of EU nations have committed to a joint defense cooperation, focusing on military operations and investments. Europe is looking to cement unity, especially since Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. Defense and foreign ministers from 23 European Union countries signed up to a plan to establish the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), which will allow countries to cooperate ... Read More »

Sigmar Gabriel: Hard-line Turkey policy is paying off

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has praised his government's move to put "economic pressure" on Turkey. Germany overhauled its policy toward Turkey in response to the jailing of German journalists and activists. On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel praised the government's decision to overhaul its policy toward Turkey, telling la newspaper that Germany's hard-line approach and "economic pressure" were paying off. Gabriel spoke after the Turkish government, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, officially withdrew a blacklist of 680 German companies it had accused of having links to terrorist organizations. Among the listed companies were the carmaker Daimler and the chemical firm BASF. Read more: German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel seeks tougher EU line on Turkey "There was a broad debate in Turkish society," Gabriel told Tuesday's edition of the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, "and Erdogan was forced to concede that the blacklist was a misunderstanding." In July, Gabriel outlined a "reorientation" of government policy toward Turkey. As part of the sharper measures, German businesses were advised against investing and doing business in Turkey. That measure is believed to have prompted Ankara to swiftly make a U-turn on its blacklist and assure Berlin that no German companies were under investigation. Germany's government also updated its travel warning, notifying citizens that they would incur "risks" by traveling to Turkey. The Foreign Ministry's travel website also advised German nationals in Turkey to exercise "heightened caution" as consular access had been "restricted in violation of the obligations of international law." Read more: As German spat deepens, Turkey draws tourists from elsewhere Gabriel admits sanctions hit small businesses Germany's top diplomat acknowledged that the hard-line measures weren't without consequence. "Our travel warning is, of course, also affecting the wrong people: the small hotel owners, the restaurant owners and waiters in western Turkey who cater towards European and German customers." Nevertheless, Gabriel said, Germany must protect its citizens. "We cannot accept that President Erdogan can simply arrest and imprison German nationals," Gabriel said. Relations between the countries reached a new low when Turkey's government arrested of a group of rights campaigners, including the German citizen Peter Steudtner, in July. Berlin has also demanded the release of the German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel, who was arrested in Istanbul in February and now faces charges of inciting hatred and producing terrorist propaganda on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party - all of which he emphatically denies.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has praised his government’s move to put “economic pressure” on Turkey. Germany overhauled its policy toward Turkey in response to the jailing of German journalists and activists. On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel praised the government’s decision to overhaul its policy toward Turkey, telling la newspaper that Germany’s hard-line approach and “economic pressure” were paying ... Read More »

German Foreign Minister Gabriel fears new arms race with Russia

Gabriel has also called for conventional disarmament while meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Moscow. The German politician is scheduled to meet President Putin later in the day. "We have concerns that we are entering into a new arms race," Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Thursday during their meeting in Moscow. Gabriel also warned that Germany would regard any attempt to influence public opinion with the utmost seriousness. The German politician responded to revelations on Tuesday by WikiLeaks that the CIA had hacked into encrypted messages and used Frankfurt as a base for its digital espionage operations, saying that Germany did not have any information about the cyber attacks. The agenda for the visit, which comes on the heels of a visit to Poland, centers on sensitive topics in the German-Russian relationship including Ukraine, Syria and NATO. Although Gabriel has been Germany's foreign minister for just six weeks, the politician from the Social Democratic Party (SPD) is meeting with old acquaintances. As a former Minister of the Economy, Gabriel received Putin three times when he held that post. Tricky topics on the table Gabriel inherited a delicate relationship from his predecessor Frank-Walter Steinmeier, made more uncertain by the Trump administration's overtures to Russia and the Baltic and EU-member nations' fears of an increasingly resurgent Kremlin. The foreign minister told Interfax reporters that a "relapse into Cold War times" must be avoided "at all costs." In this charged atmosphere, Gabriel is seeking to make progress on certain key issues. He will continue a push for progress he began at the Munich Security Conference aimed at subduing the violent fighting that has flared up in East Ukraine in recent weeks, as a ceasefire between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian troops dissolved. Chancellor Angela Merkel's policy is to tie the removal of sanctions imposed against Moscow to a Russian adherence to the Minsk agreement. Gabriel and Lavrov will also discuss the six-year-long conflict in Syria andthe upcoming peace talks in Geneva and possibilities for stabilizing Libya, a key departure point for migrants seeking EU entry. NATO-Russia Council Despite the Baltic and Eastern European EU member states' fears of increased Russian aggression - which led NATO to station some 4,000 troops in the region - Gabriel is likely to appeal for regular meetings of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) in an effort to de-escalate tension. Gabriel recently questioned the military alliance's two percent defense spending commitment. Before his reception by the Kremlin, the German politician met Thursday morning with leaders of Russian civil organizations at the German Ambassador's residence in Moscow. The assembled group included writers, editors and the leader of Greenpeace Russia.

Gabriel has also called for conventional disarmament while meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Moscow. The German politician is scheduled to meet President Putin later in the day. “We have concerns that we are entering into a new arms race,” Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Thursday during their meeting in Moscow. Gabriel also ... Read More »

Gabriel backs more video surveillance after Berlin attack

Germany's Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has thrown his weight behind proposals to expand video surveillance. But the Social Democrat chief is less enthusiastic of plans for migrant transit zones at the borders. Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has published a paper entitled "Time for more security in times of growing uncertainty," in which he details his party's recommendations to tighten internal security in the wake of the Berlin Christmas market attack and the ongoing migrant crisis. Public broadcaster ARD, which has obtained a copy of the document, said Gabriel supports plans for an expansion of video surveillance in public spaces, which was approved by cabinet just before Christmas, and the use of electronic tagging of offenders. He also backed plans to speed up the deportation of failed asylum seekers and to create a uniform intelligence data system, which can be used at the local, regional and national level, ARD said. But Gabriel, who is also Germany's economy minister, opposes plans for transition zones at Germany's borders to process applications for asylum from migrants. He described them as "spurious solutions" that would weaken state responsibility for handling migrants. German leaders under pressure The SPD's security paper comes amid a fierce debate about the processing of claims for asylum, after several violent incidents last summer, many carried out by refugees. They included the suicide bombing near a music festival in the southern city of Ansbach and the Würzburg train attack, among others. Similarly, the Berlin attack on December 19, which left 12 people dead, was carried out by a Tunisian migrant, whose application for refuge in Germany was turned down, and whose deportation order had been held up due to delays identifying him. Authorities have complained about the difficulty registering more than a million migrants over the past two years due to the use of multiple identities by many newcomers. In his paper, Gabriel also called for better prevention measures in the security debate, to combat Islamist terrorism culturally, as well as through intelligence and police work. He said it was vital to tackle online extremist propaganda, and to work with Muslim communities. At the same time, Gabriel called for "zero tolerance against hate preachers" which would ensure that radical Islamist and Salafist mosques operating in Germany would be closed down. The SPD chief also warned those on the left of his party not to block increased security measures for purely ideological reasons. He said that could be used by political opponents in the future to blame the SPD for any "failure" to prevent another terrorist attack.

Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has thrown his weight behind proposals to expand video surveillance. But the Social Democrat chief is less enthusiastic of plans for migrant transit zones at the borders. Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has published a paper entitled “Time for more security in times of growing uncertainty,” in which he details his party’s recommendations to tighten internal ... Read More »

Multiple petitions lodged at top German court against EU-Canada trade deal

Germany's top court is hearing joint complaints from hundreds of thousands of opponents of a proposed CETA, EU-Canada trade agreement. Economy minister Sigmar Gabriel has asked the court to back CETA. Germany's Constitutional Court has begun hearing a challenge to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. In multiple petitions, hundreds of thousands of CETA opponents asked the court to prevent the government from endorsing the deal at an EU ministers gathering next week, arguing that it violates democratic principles. "Not a single parliament elected by me - neither the Bundestag nor the European Parliament - was given a mandate to negotiate for CETA," Roman Huber, an activist with Mehr Demokratie (More Democracy), said on Wednesday. The organization has joined a broad alliance of pressure groups and politicians who have campaigned against CETA and presented the court, in the southwestern city of Karlsruhe, with the suit. The EU and Canada formally concluded CETA negotiations in 2014, but the deal has since faced fierce opposition across Europe, delaying its implementation. EU ministers plan to approve CETA on October 18, paving the way for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sign it at a summit in Brussels on October 27. Opponents argue that CETA would hand too much power to multinational companies and undermine consumer and environmental protection standards. Activists also charge that it would set a dangerous precedent and open the way for the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a similar but far more ambitious agreement with the United States. 'Very complex agreement' Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told the court that stalling CETA would throw Germany's credibility into doubt. "I do not want to imagine what that could mean for Europe," he told the court arguing that no one around the world would have confidence in the capacity of Germany and the EU to sign contracts. In his opening remarks, Constitutional Court President Andreas Vosskuhle said both "proponents and opponents of the agreement often tended to simplify ... a very complex agreement." He said the court had "to take sufficient account of the complexity of the subject matter" in making an assessment of the agreement, which took about seven years to negotiate. Nevertheless, in an usually fast turnaround, the court plans to announce its decision on Thursday.

Germany’s top court is hearing joint complaints from hundreds of thousands of opponents of a proposed CETA, EU-Canada trade agreement. Economy minister Sigmar Gabriel has asked the court to back CETA. Germany’s Constitutional Court has begun hearing a challenge to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. In multiple petitions, hundreds of thousands of CETA opponents asked the court to prevent ... Read More »

Germany’s Vice Chancellor Gabriel: US-EU trade talks ‘have failed’

Free trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States have failed, according to Germany's Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. After three years of talks, an agreement has yet to be reached. Discussions on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have been unsuccessful, Germany's Minister for Economic Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel, who is also the country's vice chancellor, said on Sunday. "In my opinion the negotiations with the United States have de facto failed, even though nobody is really admitting it," Gabriel told German broadcaster ZDF. "Nothing is moving," he added. If agreed upon, TTIP would create the world's largest free trade zone containing 800 million people. Three years of talks have still not led to an agreement, with negotiators facing tough criticism of the deal on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Gabriel, who also heads the Social Democrats (SPD), noted that after 14 rounds of talks, the two sides have yet to agree on even one chapter out of the 27 being discussed. One of the reasons given for the breakdown in negotiations was that "we Europeans did not want to subject ourselves to American demands," Gabriel said. CETA defense In contrast to his TTIP stance, Gabriel defended the EU's free trade agreement with Canada, called the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA.) "The debate has become very difficult in that the agreement with Canada and the one with the USA have been lumped together," Gabriel said, adding that this assumption is incorrect. He praised the Canadian agreement, saying it was fairer for both sides. Many Germans continue to harbor suspicions against the TTIP and CETA, but the Canadian-European deal is much further advanced and could be ratified in the near future. German trade unions and other organizations have called for a massive rally across German cities on September 17 to protest the two trade agreements. Supporters of the TTIP hope to lock down the outlines of an agreement before France and Germany's general elections in 2017 and before US President Barack Obama leaves office at the end of 2016.

Free trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States have failed, according to Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. After three years of talks, an agreement has yet to be reached. Discussions on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have been unsuccessful, Germany’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel, who is also the country’s vice chancellor, said on ... Read More »

Berlin mulls how to further strengthen gun laws after Munich attack

جرمن حکومت نے عہد کیا ہے کہ اس بات کو ممکن بنایا جائے گا کہ میونخ حملے کی طرز کا واقعہ دوبارہ نہ ہو۔ اس صورت حال کے پیش نظر اسلحے سے متعلق قوانین کو مزید سخت بنانے کی کوشش کی جائے گی۔ جرمنی کے جنوبی شہر میونخ میں ہونے والے خون ریز حملے کے بعد ملک میں یہ بحث شروع ہو چکی ہے کہ کس طور اس طرح کے واقعے کو دوبارہ ہونے سے روکا جا سکے۔ چوں کہ اس حملے کے پیچھے مذہبی انتہا پسندی کا عمل دخل نہیں تھا، اور ابتدائی تفتیش کے مطابق یہ ایک جنونی کی کارروائی تھی، برلن میں جرمن حکام اس بات پر غور کر رہے ہیں کہ اسلحے سے متعلق قوانین میں مزید سختی لائی جائے۔ واضح رہے کہ جرمنی کے اسلحے سے متعلق قوانین پہلے ہی اچھے خاصے سخت ہیں۔ جرمنی میں صورت حال امریکا سے بہت مختلف ہے۔ امریکا میں جنونی افراد کی فائرنگ سے ہلاکتوں کے واقعات اکثر رونما ہوتے رہتے ہیں، تاہم جرمنی میں ایسا شاذ و نادر ہی دیکھا جاتا ہے۔ تاہم ماہرین کا کہنا ہے کہ اگر جرمنی میں اسلحے سے متعلق قوانین کو مزید سخت کر بھی دیا جائے تو غیر قانونی ذرائع سے اسلحہ حاصل کرنے والوں پر اس کا کوئی اثر نہیں پڑے گا۔ جرمن وزیر داخلہ ٹوماس ڈے میزیئر نے ’بِلڈ ام زونٹاگ‘ جریدے سے بات کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ حکومت اس بات پر غور کر رہی ہے کہ کس طرح قوانین کو مزید مؤثر بنایا جا سکے۔ نائب چانسلر زیگمار گابریئل نے بھی اس طرح کے خیالات کا اظہار کیا۔ تاہم سوال یہ ہے کہ جرمنی میں اسلحے سے متعلق قوانین اتنے سخت ہیں کہ قانون سازوں کے لیے مزید کچھ کرنے کے لیےاب کیا ہے؟ جرمنی میں اسلحہ رکھنا اتنا آسان نہیں ہے۔ اس کو حاصل کرنے کے لیے شہریوں کو کئی امتحانات میں شرکت کرنا پڑتی ہے، اور کئی مراحل سے گزر کر ہی حکومتی عہدے دار اس بات کا فیصلہ کرتے ہیں کہ شہری کو اسلحہ دیا جائے یا نہیں۔ میونخ میں حملہ کرنے والے ایرانی نژاد جرمن کی ملکیت میں غیر قانونی اسلحہ تھا۔ اس سے ثابت ہوتا ہے کہ اس ضمن میں کوئی بھی کارروائی کرنے کے لیے جرمن حکومت کو غیر قانونی اسلحہ مارکیٹ کے گرد بھی گھیرا تنگ کرنا ہوگا۔ محض اسلحے سے متعلق پہلے ہی سے سخت قوانین کو مزید سخت کرنے سے مسئلہ شاید اس طور حل نہ ہو پائے جس طرح حکومتی اہل کاروں کی خواہش ہے۔

Germany’s coalition government has promised to seek whatever legal means necessary to prevent another mass shooting. But if the weapon was acquired illegally, stricter controls on gun purchases may not be the answer. In the wake of the shooting in Munich that left nine people and the gunman dead, German leaders on Sunday were already preparing talks on stricter gun ... Read More »

SPD seeks to raise social justice profile

Germany's Social Democratic Party has outlined an agenda geared towards social justice at a party conference in Berlin. The party is hoping to improve its poor standing in the polls in the leadup to elections in 2017. Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Sigmar Gabriel announced on Sunday that he wanted his party to win back the trust of the German public and better cater to families, single parents and pensioners. "Solidarity is our response to the challenges and problems that everyone faces," he said. At the conference in Berlin, attended by around 200 SPD officials, Gabriel said the party needed to strive to further differentiate itself from coalition partner, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) led by Chancellor Angela Merkel. "Left doesn't mean to give up on the center, left means to conquer the middle," Gabriel said. "The center is also the place between bottom and top." Education, housing, taxes At the conference, the SPD functionaries finalized a motion that proposes investing billions in roads, security, education and affordable housing. Gabriel stressed that the party's focus was to ease the burden on those with small and medium incomes, and to make the taxation system fairer. "Increasing taxes isn't going to bring about more justice," Gabriel told journalists. "We want to ensure that people who have built prosperity can have more of it." In the area of education policy, Gabriel made the case for abolishing the current ban on cooperation between federal and state governments, and said a massive injection of funds into kindergartens and primary schools was needed. The SPD has also proposed the creation of 12,000 additional police force jobs at federal and state levels by 2019, as well as the expansion of surveillance at known crime spots. Gabriel said public safety was a "deeply democratic issue because only rich people can afford a weak state." Chancellor candidate? The SPD has been performing poorly in the polls for months, with support currently hovering at around 21 percent. Gabriel, who is Vice Chancellor and also economy minister, was re-elected to lead his party in December with a historically low 74 percent. It's not yet clear who will run as the SPD candidate for chancellor in the 2017 federal elections. "No one is ducking out," Labor Minister Andrea Nahles (SPD) told the "Ruhr Nachrichten" newspaper on Sunday. "I'm sure that when the time comes, the SPD will swiftly agree on a candidate for chancellor." "Of course Sigmar Gabriel has the final say, and for that reason I'm neither in the game, nor have I anything new to report."

Germany’s Social Democratic Party has outlined an agenda geared towards social justice at a party conference in Berlin. The party is hoping to improve its poor standing in the polls in the leadup to elections in 2017. Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Sigmar Gabriel announced on Sunday that he wanted his party to win back the trust of the German ... Read More »

German vice chancellor meets with Egypt’s ‘impressive’ president

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has concluded a two-hour long meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi in Cairo. Gabriel referred to the controversial Egyptian leader as "an impressive president." German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi in Cairo, offering Germany's help boosting Egypt's border security. Egypt wants to improve its borders defenses to prevent weapons smuggling. "We have a huge interest in keeping the country stable," Gabriel said, adding that stability in Egypt was key to the management of the migration crisis in Europe as well as to minimizing the risk of "Islamic State" (IS) attacks in Europe. Economic woes Gabriel also suggested that Germany could mediate between Egypt and its international creditors. The country has been struggling with its finances; President al-Sissi recently sold two Egyptian islands to Saudi Arabia to boost its coffers. "We announced our willingness to cooperate," Gabriel said after the long meeting, before adding that Germany did not make any concrete financial promises to Egypt. The Arabic-language al-Ahram newspaper reported on its English website that Gabriel was heading a delegation of more than 120 investors during the visit. Gabriel's visit is expected to culminate in the signing of a number of economic agreements and memoranda of understanding. Recently, German tech giant Siemens signed a contact with Egypt to build the biggest gas and steam turbine power plant in the world. Al-Sissi's human rights record Germany's DPA news agency reported that Gabriel "harmonized" well with the controversial Egyptian leader. Gabriel told a press conference in Cairo that Egypt has "an impressive President." Gabriel did, however, also highlight the poor human rights in the country. Al-Sissi has been widely accused of committing a range of human rights abuses, which he addressed voluntarily during the meeting with Gabriel.

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has concluded a two-hour long meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi in Cairo. Gabriel referred to the controversial Egyptian leader as “an impressive president.” German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi in Cairo, offering Germany’s help boosting Egypt’s border security. Egypt wants to improve its borders defenses to ... Read More »

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