Blogs

  • No More Singing the Austerity Blues?

    Germany’s Social Democrat leader tries to change the euro tune to little avail

    by Derek Scally, 27/02/2015 | Economy and Finance, Germany

    Deputy chancellor Sigmar Gabriel argued this week that it was time to turn the page on austerity policies. But there is little chance of him bringing about a change of course. Rather, the return of the Greek crisis has underlined how little influence Germany’s Social Democrats have shaping euro-saving policies.

  • More Firsts and Breakthroughs

    Storage challenges, part 2 (of 2): 2015 could be a critical year for renewable power storage

    by Paul Hockenos, 23/02/2015 | Resources and Energy, Worldwide

    Utility companies have begun investing in large-scale battery storage technology for their renewable energy production. But the next frontier – small-scale storage for households and small businesses – is poised to take off as battery technology becomes more affordable.

  • Charging Ahead

    Storage challenges, part 1 (of 2): State-financed subsidies and tax credits essential for promoting renewables storage

    by Paul Hockenos, 18/02/2015 | Resources and Energy, Worldwide

    As dependence on renewable energy production grows, decreasing lithium prices are driving the development of large- and small-scale energy storage technologies across the globe. North America is leading the way with grid-scale energy storage projects, but Asia and Europe are right behind.

  • Lessons from Munich

    Competing realities emerge when talking about Ukraine

    by Derek Scally, 12/02/2015 | German Foreign Policy, Ukraine

    Discussions at the Munich Security Conference revealed five very different understandings of the crisis in Ukraine, with five equally different sets of policy options following. The only point of agreement is the severity of the current threat to European stability. It was Chancellor Angela Merkel who delivered a striking dose of realpolitik.

  • Palms Beyond Paradise

    Euro crisis round-up (part 5 of 5): Portugal's path out of crisis remains a thorny one

    by Thomas Fischer, 10/02/2015 | Economy and Finance, Portugal

    After three years of adherence to strict Troika directives, Portugal takes its first independent economic steps – with mixed reviews. The country must strike a balance between maintaining the fiscal austerity required by its lenders and providing services and protections for its citizens, before the country hemorrhages more of its struggling workforce.

  • Don’t Blink First

    Tsipras and Merkel are playing a dangerous game

    by Bettina Vestring, 04/02/2015 | Economy and Finance, Greece

    Greece’s radical new government seems to believe that its European partners cannot afford to let the country go broke. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying hard to create the opposite impression. Both sides are playing a dangerous game of mutually assured destruction, and there is little time to find a way out.

  • The Mentality of Self-Interest

    Euro crisis round-up (part 4 of 5): Why Italy needs a fundamental change

    by Andrea Affaticati, 03/02/2015 | Economy and Finance, Italy

    Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has announced his intention to pursue an ambitious slate of reforms, but has yet to achieve much of anything – and the problems afflicting the Italian economy may require drastic changes.

  • No Clear, Simple Answers

    Fresh violence erupts in Ukraine

    by Elizabeth Pond, 29/01/2015 | War/Warfare, Ukraine

    Despite reaching a truce on September 5, Russia and Ukraine have not made any progress on a permanent peace treaty – and a Russian push this week may have scuttled negotiations entirely for the time being. What is more, the newest phase of the crisis could be the most dangerous yet.

  • Virus of Intolerance

    Even if it now withers away, the anti-Islam movement Pegida has changed Germany

    by Derek Scally, 29/01/2015 | Migration, Germany

    With their leadership in disarray, the Pegida movement that got disgruntled Germans in their thousands marching on the streets of Dresden and other cities seems on its last leg. However, its campaign against “the Islamization of the Occident” has unleashed dangerous genies that may end up haunting Chancellor Angela Merkel.

  • The Costs of Consolidation

    Euro crisis round-up (part 3 of 5): Spain’s austerity policies threaten to permanently damage Spanish society

    by Ariadna Trillas, 27/01/2015 | Economy and Finance, Spain

    Spain was one of the countries hardest hit by the crisis, and its response has been among the most severe. The concern now is that the cure could do as much damage as the disease, with austerity policies threatening to divide the state.

  • The Coming (Öko)Strom

    Changes necessary to keep wind in the Energiewende’s sails

    by Paul Hockenos, 26/01/2015 | Resources and Energy, Germany

    Removing regulations slowing the build-up of renewable systems for consumers and industry, considering complementary methods of integrating fluctuating flows of renewable energy, and greening the transport sector through fuel innovations: these are three of the developments we may see in Germany’s renewable energy transition in 2015.

  • Surviving the Kill-or-Cure Approach

    Euro crisis round-up (part 2 of 5): Ireland’s tough savings program ended not a moment too soon

    by Martin Alioth, 21/01/2015 | Economy and Finance, Ireland

    Ireland’s economy has begun to recover, with 2014 showing GDP growth and a healthier demand for state bonds. However, some risks remain: Ireland’s banking system has yet to fully bounce back, and could prove a liability.

  • One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

    Euro crisis round-up (part 1 of 5): Greece advances – on wobbly legs

    by Richard Fraunberger, 20/01/2015 | Economy and Finance, Greece

    Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has been optimistic about his country’s progress, saying that it is now ready to leave the rescue program behind. He had better be right – his political opponents threaten to undo a great deal of the reforms that have been enacted if they win the election on January 25. This could have grave consequences for the eurozone as a whole.

  • A Mystifying Movement

    Male, middle-class, middle-aged: The “anti-Islamization” protesters of Dresden vent ill-defined grievances

    by Derek Scally, 16/01/2015 | Political Culture, Germany

    Germany’s political class and media have denounced “Pegida,” the self-declared “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident.” However, in its eastern German hometown of Dresden, the movement is growing stronger and stronger. Our columnist joined the crowds and tried to find out what motivates the protesters.

  • 2014: A Pivotal Year for the Energiewende

    Merkel government pushes energy efficiency, carbon cuts

    by Paul Hockenos, 15/01/2015 | Resources and Energy, Germany

    What a difference a year makes: Germany's transition to renewable energy showed positive forward momentum, with increasing energy production from renewables, increased exports, decreased carbon emissions, and decreasing consumer prices. The CDU-SPD coalition is now pushing energy producers to improve on a new front: efficiency.

  • Out of Step

    “Pegida,” Germany’s new anti-Islam movement, suddenly fills streets

    by Bettina Vestring, 18/12/2014 | Migration, Germany

    In just a couple weeks, a new movement has risen to political stardom. “Pegida,” the acronym by which it is known, is dominating newspaper headlines and television debates. Chancellor Angela Merkel is using every opportunity to speak out against it. But even if Pegida goes away, the xenophobic and anti-Islam sentiments it represents must be addressed.

  • Growing Trouble

    Putin may not have much room left to maneuver

    by Elizabeth Pond, 17/12/2014 | War/Warfare, Russia

    Moscow’s actions in Ukraine forced the United States and Europe into a difficult position: How could they avoid expanding the conflict on the one hand while condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s breach of the peace on the other? However, it now seems that Putin has painted himself into a corner – the Russian economy is faltering, reducing his future options.

  • Utility U-Turn, Part II (of II)

    What Will Germany’s Utilities Do Next?

    by Paul Hockenos, 15/12/2014 | Resources and Energy, Germany

    E.ON’s decision to leave the fossil fuel market is a boon to Germany’s shift towards renewable energy, but the company’s choice was by no means mere altruism – and critics argue that it may indeed benefit at the taxpayer’s expense.

  • Utility U-Turn, Part I (of II)

    German fossil fuel giant jumps on renewables bandwagon

    by Paul Hockenos, 12/12/2014 | Resources and Energy, Germany

    Germany’s largest utility, E.ON, just announced that it would leave the fossil fuel and nuclear businesses to focus on renewable energy and other energy services. Its hand may have been forced by national energy policy – but either way, this shift will have dramatic repercussions for the entire German energy market.

  • The Bear In Winter

    Four clues that Moscow may be ready to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine

    by Elizabeth Pond, 10/12/2014 | Security, Russia

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has been happy to ignore the consequences of his aggression in Ukraine so far, but there are signs that his endurance has reached a breaking point – particularly as Russia’s economy begins to sag under international pressure.

Latest Eye on Europe

  • Palms Beyond Paradise

    Euro crisis round-up (part 5 of 5): Portugal's path out of crisis remains a thorny one

    After three years of adherence to strict Troika directives, Portugal takes its first independent economic steps – with mixed reviews. The country must strike a balance between maintaining the fiscal austerity required by its lenders and providing services and protections for its citizens, before the country hemorrhages more of its struggling workforce.

  • The Mentality of Self-Interest

    Euro crisis round-up (part 4 of 5): Why Italy needs a fundamental change

    Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has announced his intention to pursue an ambitious slate of reforms, but has yet to achieve much of anything – and the problems afflicting the Italian economy may require drastic changes.

  • No Clear, Simple Answers

    Fresh violence erupts in Ukraine

    Despite reaching a truce on September 5, Russia and Ukraine have not made any progress on a permanent peace treaty – and a Russian push this week may have scuttled negotiations entirely for the time being. What is more, the newest phase of the crisis could be the most dangerous yet.

Latest Berlin Observer

  • No More Singing the Austerity Blues?

    Germany’s Social Democrat leader tries to change the euro tune to little avail

    Deputy chancellor Sigmar Gabriel argued this week that it was time to turn the page on austerity policies. But there is little chance of him bringing about a change of course. Rather, the return of the Greek crisis has underlined how little influence Germany’s Social Democrats have shaping euro-saving policies.

  • Lessons from Munich

    Competing realities emerge when talking about Ukraine

    Discussions at the Munich Security Conference revealed five very different understandings of the crisis in Ukraine, with five equally different sets of policy options following. The only point of agreement is the severity of the current threat to European stability. It was Chancellor Angela Merkel who delivered a striking dose of realpolitik.

  • Don’t Blink First

    Tsipras and Merkel are playing a dangerous game

    Greece’s radical new government seems to believe that its European partners cannot afford to let the country go broke. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying hard to create the opposite impression. Both sides are playing a dangerous game of mutually assured destruction, and there is little time to find a way out.

Most Read

Latest blog posts

  • No More Singing the Austerity Blues?

    Germany’s Social Democrat leader tries to change the euro tune to little avail

    Deputy chancellor Sigmar Gabriel argued this week that it was time to turn the page on austerity policies. But there is little chance of him bringing about a change of course. Rather, the return of the Greek crisis has underlined how little influence Germany’s Social Democrats have shaping euro-saving policies.

  • More Firsts and Breakthroughs

    Storage challenges, part 2 (of 2): 2015 could be a critical year for renewable power storage

    Utility companies have begun investing in large-scale battery storage technology for their renewable energy production. But the next frontier – small-scale storage for households and small businesses – is poised to take off as battery technology becomes more affordable.

  • Charging Ahead

    Storage challenges, part 1 (of 2): State-financed subsidies and tax credits essential for promoting renewables storage

    As dependence on renewable energy production grows, decreasing lithium prices are driving the development of large- and small-scale energy storage technologies across the globe. North America is leading the way with grid-scale energy storage projects, but Asia and Europe are right behind.