The Berlin Update: 23rd March 2013

by Ares Kalandides

Here is my weekly pick of news from or on Germany. Today with the following topics:

1. Belgian government accuses Germany of wage dumping

2. Friedrich Ebert Foundation: Future Scenarios for the Eurozone – 15 Perspectives on the Euro Crisis

3. German companies and families own companies in Panama

4. Anti money-laundering index by the Basel Institute on Governance: Greece the only “high risk” country in the EU; Germany riskier than Cyprus.

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1. Belgian government accuses Germany of wage dumping

© ROETH, FRANK

Despite extremely low wages: legal action against Germany is considered unlikely © ROETH, FRANK

“The Belgian government wants to bring Germany before the European Commission accusing it for social dumping.  The German government allows Eastern European workers in particular to be exploited in low-wage sectors, criticized Labour Minister Monica de Coninck and Economy Minister Johan Vande Lanotte.  Because there is no general minimum wage, German slaughterhouses, garden enterprises or sawmills offer their services so cheaply that Belgian competitors cannot keep up.

In their country-specific recommendations for the member states the Commission criticized in the past year that German wages had not increased enough, namely less than the productivity, said the spokesman for EU Social Affairs Commissioner Laszlo Andor in Brussels.

The criticism of the Belgian government revolves mainly around the employment of workers from the Eastern European countries in German slaughterhouses who work for hourly wages of just a few euros.”

http://www.faz.net/niedriglohnsektor-deutsche-betreiben-sozialdumping-12120765.html

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2. Friedrich Ebert Foundation: Future Scenarios for the Eurozone – 15 Perspectives on the Euro Crisis

SCENARIO TEAM EUROZONE 2020 – March 2013

The Eurozone is standing at a crossroads, facing the biggest challenges in its history: the systemic crisis and the political attempts to overcome it have far-reaching consequences for the future of the Economic and Monetary Union, European integration and Europe in the world.

By identifying the main driving forces that influence the future development of the Economic and Monetary Union, a number of different scenarios were developed to show what the Eurozone will look like in the year 2020.

Four major scenarios are imaginable:

(A) Muddling through the Crisis. The Eurozone remains a house without a protecting roof.

(B) Break-up of the Eurozone. The Euro house falls apart.

(C) Core Europe: evolution of two-level integration with a smaller and stable, but exclusionary Euro house.

(D) Completion of the Monetary Union by a fiscal and political union. The roof is repaired and construction completed.

Experts in 15 cities all over Europe evaluated, discussed and developed these scenarios. A Pan-European perspective on the future of the Eurozone introduces an alternative way of looking at the Euro Crisis.

Read the full document here: http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/id/ipa/09723.pdf

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3. German companies and families own companies in Panama

Panama

Panama

Several prominent German entrepreneurs and private individuals, including some with assets in the billions are involved as directors or owners of companies in the tax haven Panama according to information of the Süddeutsche Zeitung. According to a report in the Wednesday edition of the Süddeutsche Zeitung among them are also representatives of some of the richest German families, for example, the families Porsche and Piëch Quandt, also the publisher Hubert Burda, the coffee dynasty Jacobs and the banker von Finck family.

Panama has always been renowned as a descreet tax haven. The names researched by the Süddeutsche Zeitung are from the official database of the country . The English hacker Daniel O’Huiginn made the data contained therein accessible and searchable on his blog.

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/2.220/deutsche-milliardaere-in-steueroase-porsche-pich-und-quandt-in-panama-1.1628885

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4. Anti money-laundering index by the Basel Institute on Governance: Greece the only “high risk” country in the EU; Germany riskier than Cyprus.

Europe in the AML Index of the Basel Institute on Governance

Europe in the AML Index of the Basel Institute on Governance

The Basel AML Index is a composite country risk ranking developed by the Basel Institute on Governance and its expert team from the International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR). The purpose of the Basel AML Index is to analyze countries risk regarding money laundering / terrorism financing, and other related factors such as corruption and political risk. The Basel AML Index uses a composite methodology, aggregating 15 variables from third party sources that deal with anti-money laundering (AML) / counter terrorist financing (CTF) regulations, financial standards, transparency & disclosure, and political risks. The resulting overall score is based on a weighting scheme through a qualitative expert assessment. In short the Basel AML Index is:

  • an overview of over 140 countries according to their risk level in money laundering / terrorist financing;
  • a composite index based on public sources and third party assessments;
  • an innovative research-based risk ranking to be updated annually.

http://index.baselgovernance.org/Index.html#ranking

About Ares

Ares Kalandides holds a PhD in Urban and Regional Studies from the National Technical University of Athens. He is the founder and CEO of Inpolis, an international consultancy based in Berlin, Germany and has implement several projects around the world. Ares teaches Urban Economics at the Technical University in Berlin and Metropolitan Studies at NYU Berlin.
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