Top German, Turkish envoys to meet in Germany

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel
Updated 03 January 2018
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Top German, Turkish envoys to meet in Germany

ANKARA: The foreign ministers of Germany and Turkey will meet this weekend as Ankara seeks to douse tensions with the EU that blighted 2017, Turkish officials said on Wednesday.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel will host Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in his home town of Goslar in Lower Saxony on Saturday, the officials said.
The visit will represent the German leg of talks between the two men who met in November in Cavusoglu’s home region of Antalya in southern Turkey.
Cavusoglu said he would meet Gabriel on Jan. 6 at a briefing with Turkish reporters in Ankara quoted by state media.
A Foreign Ministry official, contacted by AFP, confirmed the meeting would be in Goslar. The German Foreign Ministry said a meeting was planned there without giving a date.
Relations between Turkey and Germany hit a nadir last year as Berlin strongly criticized the crackdown after the failed coup that left over 55,000 arrested and Ankara accused Berlin of meddling.
Tensions with other EU members, including Austria and the Netherlands, meanwhile appeared to bring Turkey’s bid to join the EU to a shuddering halt.
But Ankara has issued a flurry of signals in recent days it wants warmer relations with the EU and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is heading to France on Friday for talks with President Emmanuel Macron.
The better tone has been helped by the shared opposition of both Turkey and key EU states, including France and Germany, to President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Berlin was particularly incensed by the holding of several German nationals in a crackdown after the coup bid, although tensions eased slightly following several releases in recent months.
Most recently, German pilgrim David Britsch and German journalist Mesale Tolu were set free by Turkey in developments welcomed by Berlin.
However, the correspondent of the Die Welt daily newspaper, Deniz Yucel, a German-Turkish dual national arrested in February, remains behind bars and not even a date for his trial has been set.


Macron must unify France as unrest is hurting economy: Le Maire

Updated 10 December 2018
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Macron must unify France as unrest is hurting economy: Le Maire

  • Le Maire would not be drawn on a figure for annual economic growth in 2018 but said the wave of unrest was hurting France’s image among foreign investors
  • Le Maire reiterated his desire to accelerate tax cuts but suggested he was not in favor of reinstating a tax on wealth

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron needs to unify a country divided by the forces of globalization in a national addresses on Monday and end anti-government protests that will cut economic growth by about 0.1 percentage points, France’s finance minister said.
Protesters rioted in Paris and cities across France on Saturday in a fourth weekend of unrest that first erupted over high living costs but has morphed into a broader anti-Macron rebellion.
“Our country is deeply divided, between those who see that globalization has benefited them and others who can’t make ends meet, who say ... globalization is not an opportunity but a threat,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told RTL.
“It is the president’s role to unify the country.”
Le Maire would not be drawn on a figure for annual economic growth in 2018 but said the wave of unrest was hurting France’s image among foreign investors and would knock 0.1 percentage points off output in the final quarter.
Macron will make a televised address at 20:00 local Paris time (1900 GMT) as he seeks to placate “yellow vest” protesters, whose revolt poses the most formidable challenge yet to the 40-year-old leader’s 18-month presidency.
Le Maire reiterated his desire to accelerate tax cuts but suggested he was not in favor of reinstating a tax on wealth — known as the ‘ISF’ — that Macron narrowed when he came into office, and which earned him the tag ‘president of the rich.
“Does the ISF help reduce poverty, reduce our debts, reduce public spending? No. If you want to hunt for money, go knocking on the doors of digital tech companies,” Le Maire said.
Le Maire said last Thursday that France would tax digital giants at a national level from 2019 if European Union states could not reach an agreement on a tax on digital revenues for the bloc.
“It is time they paid a fair level of tax,” he told RTL on Monday.