Clan funerals and Nord Stream: the week in review
This newsletter is a three minute read
Today, we’re updating you on a few stories we’ve been covering in recent weeks. There was a clan funeral in Berlin; the “villain” of the refugee drama of 2015 appears to have seen the error of his ways; Nord Stream 2 and more...
Have a great Sunday,
Jörg & Axel
A very German funeral
The trial of Arafat Abou-Chaker and his brothers took a break this week after the matriarch of the Lebanese family passed away of COVID-19. Some 200 policemen joined 700 mourners from all over Germany who paid their last respects to the 69-year-old mother of nine this Friday.
The Neue Zwölf-Apostel Kirchhof in Berlin is the cemetery of choice for the clans:
The funeral of Nidal R two years ago was attended by over 2.000 people, including a who’s who of German clan bosses
Issa Remmo’s mother was buried there this April - chaotic scenes ensued as hundreds of attendants defied the then strict Corona regulations
This Friday’s service was calm, possibly because Abou-Chaker used his Instagram account to remind everyone to stick to the rules by only using designated parking spots and adhering to the hygiene regulations by wearing masks.
Knives out against the board
We didn’t have to wait long for the German business press to draw their knives, which they seemed to have forgotten how to use during 20 years of Wirecard fraud. As we love to point out, it was the Financial Times, a British paper, that uncovered the scandal...
The Horst Seehofer tragedy
The German Alleingang of 2016, when the country took in 70 percent of all refugees seeking asylum in the European Union, set a precedent:
This time around, the EU’s 26 other member states kept quiet long enough for the German interior ministry to submit to domestic pressure. Germany is taking in 1.553 homeless migrants from the island of Lesbos - and once again without achieving its goal of finding a European solution
Der Spiegel ridiculed interior minister Horst Seehofer for taking the moral high ground this time around after being a hardliner five years ago (his opposition to Angela Merkel’s open-border policy almost collapsed the government in 2016):
“In a novel he would come home one evening, and on the stairs of his house would sit an unaccompanied refugee child, whom he would first send away, then adopt. That could be a kitschy novel, but it could also be a very good one. In any case, Horst Seehofer's life is a great, somehow tragic story.”
A quid pro quo with Trump
Die Zeit reported this week that Finance Minister Olaf Scholz made an offer to the US that would involve Germany investing €1 billion in sea terminals for American liquified gas in return for the US dropping its resistance to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline line from Russia.
As we’ve previously reported, the Nord Stream 2 line is close to completion, but in their determination to stop it, US senators have gone as far as threatening the small Baltic harbour of Sassnitz with devastating sanctions.
Mr Scholz, it seems, knew of President Trump’s penchant for a good old quid pro quo and thought he could cut a hard-nosed deal with him.
Berlin confirmed the substance of the report by saying that it was long established policy to diversify Germany’s energy sources. The Die Zeit report does not say what the White House’s response was.
The New York Times reports on the first known case of death due to a cyber attack at a Düsseldorf clinic
The international media’s Germanophilia continues - the FT offers John Kampfner (who’s latest book on Germany we’ve previously mentioned) 2.500 words to explain ‘what the world can learn from Germany’
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Who we are:
Jörg Luyken: Journalist based in Berlin since 2014. His work has been published by German and English outlets including der Spiegel, die Welt, the Daily Telegraph and the Times. Formerly in the Middle East.
Axel Bard Bringéus: Started his career as a journalist for the leading Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet and has spent the last decade in senior roles at Spotify and as a venture capital investor. In Berlin since 2011.