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A date in France: Schulze and Macron live in different worlds

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aAngela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron have formed a pair that works perfectly on the surface. I called him Emmanuel, just talk about Angela. In truth, they could hardly be different: at the end of a long career there was stability, but above all it was for stagnation. He bravely made his way to his position and surged forward with energy. Sometimes they looked like mother and son. At other times it was as if the German chancellor was looking for solace on the young man’s part.

A new chapter begins in Franco-German relations with Olaf Schultz. The new chancellor does not miss any opportunity to emphasize the proximity to Paris. And like Merkel after every re-election, his first trip will take him to Paris, and it was already announced on Friday. Foreign Minister Annalena Birbock will meet her counterpart on Thursday. These gestures are a habit and a symbol. France is the number one partner and always will be.

But there are very unequal partners who often have to be close. Essentially, the new government looks more like France, but upon closer examination it quickly becomes clear that concrete answers to future challenges often run in opposite directions. Paris and Berlin will continue to work hard to find a compromise.

EU Financing

Video conference photos of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron from the first corona in May last year are still vaguely remembered, and it is generally forgotten that history was made at that time. The landmark EU aid program of 750 billion euros was financed by co-borrowing from the Franco-German initiative „for the economic recovery of Europe after the Corona crisis”.

For Germany, this was a paradigm shift after years of warnings about a „debt union,” and for France it was a long-overdue breakthrough toward more coordinated economic and fiscal policy.

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So both partners worked closely together during the crisis, but that wouldn’t prevent gossip in the future. France’s already high national debt has risen even further as a result of the pandemic, to around 120 percent of GDP, while Germany has managed to hold out just over 70 percent. This means that Paris is relying on an extended and loose monetary policy of the European Central Bank for the time being, which German Finance Minister Christian Lindner will not like.

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However, it is unlikely that an open dispute will erupt on this topic. The Berlin Foundation for Science and Policy believes that in the medium term it will be the „politically cheaper option” for both Paris and Berlin if the European Central Bank maintains its broad commitment to stabilizing the eurozone.

economic policy

The French and Germans have completely different ideas about the tasks of their ministries of economy. To the left of the Rhine, the „ministre de l’économie” is by far the largest player in a nationwide ultra-heavy economy; To the right of the Rhine, it depends on the incumbent in question whether he can develop his weight in government or just remain a distinguished chancellor.

Knowing this, the French are quietly waiting for what Robert Habeck will get out of his fortune bag in his grand ministry of economic and climate issues. The Corona pandemic has intensified France’s efforts to achieve greater European independence, including in the economic and industrial sectors. So it is likely that Habic’s climate goals will align with France’s strategic principles. Both sides are also interested in the success of a European company2A tax, which would later be considered a frontier tax on carbon worldwide, seems straightforward.

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Traffic Light Coalition Annalena Baerbock, Robert Habeck (both Greens), Olaf Scholz (SPD), and Christian Lindner (FDP, left)

In general, whatever serves the achievement of Paris climate goals suits the French, the climate treaty has become a critical component of French soft power. There must be significant overlaps here. Perhaps they are getting smaller in the field of industrial policy. It is unlikely that Habeck, like his predecessor Peter Altmaier, would aggressively campaign for government funding for large corporations to create „Champions of Europe”. The interests of the world champion in export, Germany, in the future also often conflict with the protectionism of neighboring countries, which are now environmentally affected.

defense policy

France is a nuclear power, and Germany is a child burned by history. Perhaps the differing relationship with the military is the deeper divergence between the two countries. There is no more obvious difference between the two political systems: every deployment of the federal armed forces must be approved in Parliament. In France, the president has royal power. It is the commander-in-chief of the army whose soldiers in elegant uniforms, some in white and red feathered helmets, march across the Champs-Elysees on National Day. When he takes office, he receives the nuclear token.

The German side has long dismissed the project of strategic autonomy for Europe, which is very close to Macron’s heart, as an „illusion”. Meanwhile, the people in Berlin also realized that Washington could no longer be relied upon in security policy, and that no matter who the president of the United States was, the superpower of the United States had shifted its strategic interests to the Indo-Pacific. But Berlin still views the increase in the defense budget as a response to America’s criticism of supposedly unfair burden-sharing in NATO.

France hopes to rest its armed forces on the front lines of the war on terror in the Sahel and the Middle East. Despite the joint armaments projects, the two differ in their orientation: for the new government in Berlin, the transatlantic alliance remains “a mainstay and NATO is an indispensable part of our security,” as stated in the alliance agreement.

energy policy

Germany has decided to phase out nuclear power, while France gets 70 percent of its electricity from nuclear power. Macron has now violated his predecessor’s step-by-step exit policy and announced that he intends to build six new power plants. He sees nuclear energy as a „trump card for the economy and the environment”, which is why the French in Brussels are fighting for it to be classified as green and sustainable energy.

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Due to the aging of the nuclear park, energy has become cheap, which has slowed the expansion of renewable energies. They make up only a quarter of France’s electricity share. There is strong resistance to wind turbines, which are seen as a spoiled spectacle and battled by celebrities, politicians and citizen groups.

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benefit

Macron had promised to reform France’s overdue pension system. It also failed because of it. Despite its national debt, France has one of the most generous pension systems. 338 billion euros poured into retirement last year, about 15 percent of economic output, resulting in a deficit of 18 billion euros in 2020 alone. There are still 42 different retirement systems with old benefits.

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For many, getting a basic pension may now work

Civil servants retire well before the state retirement age, and railway employees are between 50 and 55 years old, depending on their jobs. Despite massive resistance and months of strikes, pension reform was about to be adopted in the spring. But Corona thwarted Macron’s plans. In light of the economic crisis and the upcoming elections in April, reform has been put on hold. Even a gradual increase in the retirement age from 62 to 64, small, planned reforms, is currently no longer on the agenda.

immigration

Immigration was not a central issue during the German election campaign. In France, the fear of foreign intrusion is already dominating all discussions. It was the journalist and former presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, who made socially acceptable the „great population exchange” thesis, according to which the Christian population of Europe would be „exchanged” for a Muslim population, was responsible for this. Six out of ten French people share Zemmour’s fears of foreign intrusion, a recent poll shows.

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This feeling cannot be demonstrated by numbers. During the period of economic prosperity, probably many immigrants came from the former colonies, which is why France has the highest percentage of Muslims among the population, but the majority are citizens.

This is not an immigration problem. With a proportion of foreigners at 13 percent, France is below the OECD average compared to other countries. Migration researcher Francois Herran of the Collège de France describes immigration in the past few years as „extremely moderate”. But migration may be moderate, and the fear of it is not.

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How does the EU punish Russia if it invades?

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eIt is not easy to vote on possible sanctions against Russia, whether within the European Union or between it and the United States. USA President Joe Biden He gave a glimpse last week when, in his own words, he said that if Russia had only „minor intervention” in Ukraine, the appropriate response would be moot, while Moscow would face huge costs if it invaded.

Thomas Gotchaker

Political correspondent for the European Union, NATO and the Benelux countries, based in Brussels.

This was definitely not intended for the public; who – which White House Since then he has spent a lot of time not escalating the comment. The internal debate continued on Monday. EU foreign ministers discussed in Brussels, Ukraine was the most important topic. In the afternoon, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken joined via videotape from Washington.

On the European side, the European Union Commission to coordinate penalties. On the one hand, this is unusual, because usually the Council and Member States have their hats when it comes to this issue. They decide on the joint actions that are drawn up by the European External Action Service, which works „in tandem” with the Commission. On the other hand, it is now mainly about coercive economic measures; The commission is more efficient for that. Politically, Ursula von der Leyen took the lead when she presented a set of options at the European Council in December.

Moscow must be left in the dark

Almost nothing is known about its contents. The heads of government circulated among themselves, without any other officials; Before that they had to hand over their cell phones. UNHCR is now in in-depth talks with individual countries – especially those that will be most affected by the impacts. In addition, groups of states coordinate among themselves, all informally. On the other hand, the responsible working groups of the Council were not involved. “What goes in there is instantly made public,” says one diplomat. On the other hand, leaving Moscow in the dark about exactly what to expect is part of the strategy. If the worst comes to the worst, you will be able to make a decision very quickly. A senior EU official noted that in September 2014, it only took three days for the union to coercive measures to tighten. At that time, pro-Russian separatists bombarded the city of Mariupol with artillery.

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Corona pandemic: no concessions because of Corona – Berlin MPs get more money

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aunder Than in Brandenburg Members of the lower house of parliament in Berlin are not giving up on increasing diets during the Corona pandemic. Starting this month, these amounts will increase by 125 euros to 6,657 euros per month. It came beforeBZ„.

The 1.9 percent additional cost is an adjustment based on the evolution of average wages from 2019 to 2020. In a national comparison of state parliaments, Berlin MPs’ bonuses are still in the lower midfield. In 2020, there was a significant increase in diets of nearly 60%. This was with Shifting from free time to a full-time parliament.

In Brandenburg, SPD, CDU, Greens, Left and BVB/Free Voters announced a suspension of the increase with dire economic and social impacts of the pandemic.

All developments in the live broadcast tape:

8:15 a.m. – Companies ask that infected people asymptomatic work in key positions

In light of the impending bottlenecks in critical infrastructures, the Municipal Corporations Association (VKU) has introduced a role in employing asymptomatic infected persons in important positions. „It will be important to get help from politicians in the event of an emergency, such as the recent abolition of quarantine to strengthen communications,” VKU general manager Ingbert Liping said upon request. „Specifically, for example, the use of asymptomatic infected persons in key positions should be allowed.”

Thus, the association builds on more recent calls from business associations for so-called quarantines for work. „This tool, which allows employees in quarantine to continue working as part of a special concept of hygiene, has already proven its value in the first and second waves of the epidemic,” the Federation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA) announced at the beginning of January.

8:04 am – More Covid patients in Berlin hospitals

As the number of infections increases, so does the number of Covid-19 patients in Berlin hospitals. In the past seven days, 16.3 of 100,000 residents received inpatient treatment, according to the health department. A week ago it was 13.1, two weeks ago it was 4.0. The corresponding traffic light in the Senate’s warning system is red, but it still shows a yellow one when intensive care units are occupied — their occupancy with coronavirus patients has remained relatively flat for weeks.

06:24 am – Lockdown lifted in Chinese city of millions after a month

A month later, authorities in the city of Xi’an lifted the lockdown on 13 million residents of the central Chinese capital on Monday. According to the city administration, the status of the ancient imperial city, which has seen 2,000 good infections since December, has been reduced to „low risk”. Lifting the curfew.

6:05 am – Schulz promised poor countries more German help in the fight against Corona

Development Minister Svenja Schulz promised poor countries more German assistance in the fight against the Corona pandemic. The German Social Democratic Party politician told Reuters news agency that Germany had already provided more than 500 million euros to boost good framework conditions for vaccine production in Africa. One cooperates above all with South Africa, Rwanda, Ghana and Senegal. “I want to expand this support even more,” the development minister said. Schultz will meet the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in Geneva on Monday.

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5:15 a.m. – Two-thirds of clinics anticipate staff shortages when vaccination begins

On average, 89 percent of clinic staff who come into contact with patients have been vaccinated against COVID-19 at least twice. This was the result of a survey conducted by the German Hospital Association (DKG), whichGermany editorial networkPresent. Varying by professional groups, the vaccination rates in the hospital nursing service are the highest with an average of 95 percent. In intensive care, however, the rate is only 87 percent. The vaccination rate among physicians is exactly an average of 89 percent. .

According to the survey, two-thirds (66 percent) of hospitals expect restrictions on patient care if unvaccinated staff are no longer allowed to work as of March 16. 34% do not expect it. The head of the DKG, Gerald Gass, told „RND” that the numbers showed a „satisfactorily high” vaccination rate in clinics. „However, at the same time, it is also becoming clear that adherence to facility-related immunization can cause problems for patient care.”

4:53 a.m. – SPD Deputy Kuchaty calls for clarification of 4th vaccination

SPD Vice President Thomas Kochati expects a clear announcement from the Prime Ministers’ Conference on Monday that a fourth vaccination is not currently necessary. „Many citizens are asking in the doctor’s office if they need a fourth vaccination now,” the opposition leader in the North Rhine-Westphalian state parliament told DPA. Clarity is now required. With the so-called third vaccination, a person is well protected, which is also evidenced by the experiences of countries where vaccinations have already been given for the fourth time. „The priority remains that those who are not fully vaccinated can receive boosters until the third vaccination.”

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4:52 am – Poll: Third to tighten corona measures

In light of the huge increase in the number of corona infections, about a third of people in Germany (34 per cent) are in favor of tightening the measures. According to a survey conducted by opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of the German news agency, about another third (35 percent) consider the current restrictions valid and sufficient to counteract the rapid spread of the omicron virus variant. However, 24 percent are in favor of easing. Seven percent do not provide any information.

4:04 a.m. – Seven-day nationwide infection rate hits another high of 840.3

New cases of coronavirus in Germany have again reached a high level. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) gave The occurrence of seven days Monday with 840.3 employment. The value on Sunday was 806.8, and it was 528.2 on Monday last week. the number of new infections Within 24 hours, according to health authorities’ data on Monday 63,393 – After 85,440 the day before and 34,145 on Monday last week.

As announced by the RKI, citing data from health authorities, on Monday 28 new deaths Calculated in connection with the Corona virus.

According to the latest information received from the institute, the health authorities have recorded a total of 8,744,840 cases since the beginning of the epidemic. The total number of corona deaths recorded in Germany is now 116.746. The RKI estimates the number of people who have recovered from a disease caused by the Corona virus in Germany at 7,273,100.

03:44 a.m. – Minister of Family Affairs calls for schools and day care centers to be prioritized for PCR tests

In light of scarce laboratory capabilities, Federal Minister for Family Affairs Anne Spiegel (The Greens) is calling for teachers and children in primary schools and daycares to be prioritized for access to PCR tests. „If there are indeed fewer PCR tests available in the future, priority should also be given to teachers, daycare and primary school children,” Spiegel told Funk Media Group newspapers.

02:49 a.m. – Secretary Spiegel helps day care centers and schools

Due to the huge number of coronavirus infections, Family Minister Anne Spiegel is providing temporary help to schools and day care centers that have a particularly stressed out staff. Nearly 8,000 educational professionals from special federal programs can help care for children in the facilities for six weeks, the Green Party politician told Funk Media Group newspapers (Monday). Over the next few weeks, it will be important to mobilize all available resources so that schools and day care centers can maintain their regular operations. „This way, we give daycares and schools more flexibility and help fill the staff shortage.”

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12:01 am – Bavarian MPs are still hesitant on the subject of compulsory vaccination

A large percentage of the members of the Bundestag from Bavaria do not have a clear opinion on the subject of compulsory vaccination. This is the result of a survey conducted by the radio station Antenne Bayern. Accordingly, 29 percent spoke in favor of the general corona vaccination starting at the age of 18, and 18 percent opposed it. The majority – 39 percent – has not yet formed a final opinion and wants to wait for discussions in Parliament first. 14 percent did not respond to the radio station’s request or said they did not want to comment.

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According to the assessment, there are significant differences between the two parties. While 22 of the 33 answering politicians from CSU have not yet committed, 16 (with 22 answers) from SPD spoke out in favor of compulsory vaccination. In the AfD, all MPs who answered were against compulsory vaccination.

11:13 pm – WHO: The end of the Corona pandemic in Europe is „reasonable” after the Omicron wave

The World Health Organization does not rule out putting an end to the Corona epidemic in Europe after the current Omicron wave. „It is reasonable that the region is moving towards the end of the epidemic phase,” WHO Europe chief Hans Kluge told AFP on Sunday. But he cautioned at the same time to be careful due to the occurrence of other possible mutations in the Corona virus.

When the current omicron wave subsides in Europe, Kluge explained, there will be „global immunity for a few weeks and months, either thanks to vaccination or because people have immunity to infection.” In addition, the WHO representative added, there are seasonal effects on the upcoming spring and summer.

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At the PMC, there will be a lot about the question of how to deal with the Omicron variable

Prime Ministers Conference

Kluge summed up his forecast: „So we are preparing for the fact that there will be a period of calm before Covid-19 returns by the end of the year, but the epidemic does not necessarily return.”

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French presidential candidate Zemmour attracts Le Pen’s team

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IFrance, it’s time for the fugitives. Momentum is in favor of Eric Zemmour and against the trend of reconnaissance. The 63-year-old presidential candidate promises a „Union of the Right” and has political heavyweights Marine Le Pen and her National Rally.

In Cannes, Front National and current MEP Gilbert Collard changed his flag: as if there were no pandemic precautions, he gave his new „friend” Zemmour a long, sincere hug. In turn, he insisted that Collard be celebrated as a harbinger of a „Union of the Right” in his rally in front of more than 4,000 supporters on Saturday. The newcomer was greeted with great applause.

The head of the national assembly group in the European Parliament, Jerome Riviere, had earlier announced his move to Zemmour. „Boldness, bravery, and vitality are on Zemour’s side today,” Collard said. With him I gain hope again. He wanted to confirm that he had nothing against Marine Le Pen. party founder Jean Marie Le Pen He renamed the boisterous lawyer Gilbert „Cunard” („the total idiot”). „The day will come when Marine Le Pen will do the same and join Eric Zemmour,” Collard said.

Before him, Philippe de Villiers, one of the most prominent figures of the anti-European right, had hailed Zemmour as a valiant hero for uniting the „patriots”.

Losing Rio hurts Le Pen

According to a recent survey by Ipsos for Le Monde and the Jean Jaures Foundation, Zemmour can count on 13 percent of the vote in the first ballot in April, and Marine Le Pen with 15.5 percent. By right-wing union, Zemmour is referring to a broad spectrum of voters, from ex-Sarkozy and Fillon supporters to those disappointed in Le Pen, to Huitarists.

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