EM Germany Weekly Round-Up | week ending 23/01/2015
EM Germany’s weekly round-up summarises the past week’s key European issues in a brief press review, which also includes a look at EM Germany’s activities and topics trending globally on Twitter. German version here.
The week’s highlights in print, at EM Germany and on Twitter
17/01-23/01/2015 – From this coming March until September 2016, the European Central Bank (ECB) will put up 60 billion euros a month for government bonds and other securities. ECB chief Mario Draghi confirmed this in Frankfurt on Thursday. Through banks and finance companies buying up government bonds, the ECB will pump fresh money into circulation, which, in theory, will reach companies and consumers in the form of credit (Die Zeit). By purchasing government bonds the ECB wants to stimulate the Eurozone’s economy and prevent deflation (Spiegel). Economists are debating the impact of bond purchases, while associations, banks and insurers – amongst EM Germany member organisations, for example, the German Savings Banks Association (DSGV) and the Federal Association of German Industry (BDI) – are critical of the plans. Main criticisms include uncertainty surrounding market trends after buying up bonds and a decrease in pressure on EU member states to reform (Tagesspiegel).
On Monday, foreign ministers of 28 EU states met to discuss the fight against militant Islamists. Arrests have been made in Belgium, Germany and Greece since the attacks in France (Handelsblatt). Findings show that European national borders are unimportant to jihadists, and that in the long-term attackers will strike there where the pressure of being under surveillance and being caught is lowest. Indeed, individual countries are said to be well equipped to deal with this, but a common security policy is necessary (Süddeutsche Zeitung). EU foreign ministers are therefore demanding stronger cooperation with third countries, a intensive, long-term development policy, and draining sources of income for terrorists. Freedom of movement for radical Islamists should be reduced at European level. Demands to save flight passenger data and telecommunications data retention also came up, writes Die Welt.
The war in Eastern Ukraine has flared up again and the ceasefire broken. The conflict remains open-ended. Pro-Russian separatists continue to receive support from Russia, which denies everything. Pressure is growing for the Ukrainian government to resolve the conflict using military aggression (Rheinische Post). In response, Kiev ordered the mobilisation of 50,000 troops. On Wednesday’s meeting in Berlin between the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine an agreement was made to remove heavy armaments from the demarcation line, which had already been agreed in September. Contact groups from Russia, Ukraine, the separatists and the OSCE should now prepare as quickly as possible for a planned summit in the Kazakh capital Astana, which was already scheduled for 15 January, in order to focus on a long-term agreement (Tagesschau).
Over the last few weeks there has also been great interest in the impending elections in Greece on Twitter. The hashtag #Grexit is being used to speculate on the possibility of the country’s leaving the euro. Tweets debating Sunday’s election used the hashtag #ekloges2015. The ECB’s historic decision to buy up large quantities of government bonds. This process, called quantitative easing, has provoked controversial debates using the hashtag #QE. Both questions also dominated the World Economic Forum in Davos. The hashtags #wef15 and #globaltrade accompany the topic “Recharging Europe”.