Hanging Back in the Cul-de-sac / Translating Decision-making
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April 20, 2018
Good morning,
dear reader,
+  Merkron and Europe’s Awakening  +  Hanging Back in the Cul-de-sac  +  Translating Decision-making
“Europe is our future. Europe is our destiny.” This statement by former German chancellor Helmut Kohl is as true today as it was way back then. In a world where the gloves are off in the fight for prosperity, only a strong Europe will be able to stand firm. That makes it all the more sobering that Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have hardly any common ground when it comes to reestablishing Europe. Go-getter Macron and hang-backer Merkel may be acting in concert on European politics, but sometimes it sounds like first-graders trying to harmonize.
Merkel is too worried that Germany could end up at a financial disadvantage, having to cough up more money to Brussels or possibly getting the short end of the stick when it comes to risk sharing. Common deposit insurance, one of Macron's main demands, is something the chancellor can envision “perhaps not in the immediate future but in the longer term.” Merkel is giving Macron hope, but she’s not promising anything.
The chancellor doesn’t have much to show in the way of a European reform plan. Her government coalition agreement may have been entitled “A New Awakening for Europe,” but so far, they’ve been little more than empty words. All Merkel has brought up for discussion has been a new task force, the so-called “jumbo council.” The goal: Expand the Eurogroup to include not only finance ministers, but also economics ministers. That in itself isn’t a bad idea, but given the challenges facing Europe, it feels more like symbolic politics than anything else.
Without any real ideas on how to safeguard Europe’s jobs and prosperity, the Old Continent could very well end up outpaced by the US and China. Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are using all means in their power to push their own agendas. In Washington it’s called “America First”; in Beijing “Made in China 2025.” Europe has no way to stand up to this new global competition. We’re at a political dead end – and neither Trump nor Xi will wait for Europe to find its way back out. All we can hope is that Merkel uses what will likely be her last term to knuckle down on European policy issues. After all, Europe is Germany’s future. READ MORE
And lastly, here’s something many of us can relate to: The fundamental difference in the way Germans and Americans make decisions – and the lost-in-translation moments that can ensue. While Germans tend to look at the broad context of a decision, Americans are more likely to break it down, going for simplicity. Today in Handelsblatt Global, John Otto Magee, an American living in Germany who advises firms in cross-cultural management, explains the dilemma – and even what role linguistics play. It makes you see something Mark Twain once said in a whole new light: “Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.” READ MORE

Wishing you a weekend of diving right in. With kind regards
Sven Afhüppe
Handelsblatt Editor-in-Chief
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