Rounding Out the Energiewende

The German government finally addresses thermal inefficiencies

von Paul Hockenos | Rohstoffe & Energie, Deutschland

A new incentives initiative seeks to complete Germany’s transition to renewables with an appeal to business and a focus on a long-neglected area: the heating and cooling sector. Government support for solar and biogas heat may give the Energiewende a further push in the right direction.

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Berlin Observer

Death by a Thousand Amendments

Contrary to official statements, Berlin is working to weaken EU data protection laws

von Derek Scally | Staat und Gesellschaft, Deutschland

The replacements suggested for 20 year-old EU privacy rules must meet the requirements of “high data protection laws in Germany,” Chancellor Angela Merkel used to insist. When standards are higher elsewhere in Europe, however, Berlin seems all too ready to engage in a privacy race to the bottom.

Berlin Observer

A (Very Small) Sign of Hope

Merkel and Putin compromise on joint World War II commemoration

von Bettina Vestring | Deutsche Außenpolitik, Russische Föderation

German Chancellor Angela Merkel turned down Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invitation to attend the huge military parade planned for the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory over Germany. Instead, she will travel to Moscow one day later to take part in a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – an unexpected hopeful sign.

Berlin Observer

The Merkollande Mismatch

Franco-German relations are improving – a bit

von Bettina Vestring | Bilaterale Beziehungen, Frankreich

Is the Franco-German relationship back? Yes, if you believe a recent photo taken of Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande. Yes, if you see both of them working together to find a solution to the Ukraine crisis. But structurally, relations will continue to remain very difficult. The reason is the huge economic disparity between a prospering Germany and a France burdened by stagnation, unemployment, and persistently high debt.

Russia Policy

Chasing a Chimera
Chasing a Chimera

Closer EU-EEU ties will not lead to a rapprochement with Russia

von Stefan Meister | Russische Föderation, Konflikte und Strategien

The main cause of the conflict between Russia and the West lies in the internal legitimization deficit of Putin’s own system. A closer cooperation with Moscow’s Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) would not only undermine the EU’s values – the Kremlin is simply not interested. A reply to Mark Leonard’s and Ivan Krastev’s “The New European Disorder.”


How to Help Ukraine
How to Help Ukraine

The time is ripe for the West to support Ukrainian civil society rather than its oligarchs

von Yevhen Hlibovytsky | Ukraine, Europäische Nachbarschaftspolitik

Past attempts to support Ukrainian reform have rarely met with success, in part because the international community often overlooked the central role played by Ukraine’s growing civil society. Further strengthening it now should be one starting point for renewed engagement, while assistance for Ukraine’s military reforms should be another.