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Issue #16

Issue #16


New Competition Law for Digital Commerce

This week, the Federal Government adopted a renewal of the law against competition barriers. Basically, a digital update for the law. With this new version, big tech companies are under more scrutiny, as the government will keep a close eye on everything connected with their business practice. The new version of the law is meant to combat the competition-distorting power these companies wield more intensely. Furthermore, new data access rules were implemented to empower innovations and keep markets open.

These alterations mean, for example in platform economies, that platform owners will not be able to rank their own offerings higher than those of the competition, even though they are not “better”. Something companies like Google or Amazon were doing in the last years. The legislation will now be sent to the Bundestag and Bundesrat, which still have to sign off on the law before it comes into effect. We will keep you posted.

What Do We Do About the Money?

This Friday, the EU Ministers for Finance and Economy will meet in Berlin. While they certainly will be happy to see each other in person again for the first time in months, their discussions won’t be easy. The host, German Finance Minister Scholz (SPD), already laid out the topics: The EU already spent A LOT of money to combat the current crisis and will continue to do so. As the saying goes, money doesn’t grow on trees. Currently, the EU is almost completely financed by contributions from its Member States. However, this week’s meeting could be the starting signal for the EU’s OWN income sources. If Scholz could decide on his own, those would be: a carbon border tax, digital tax, and more money from certificate trading. Whether the other ministers will agree and how long the process will take is not clear. What is clear though, is that the EU is in desperate need of new income to counteract its spending. So, maybe those who would normally disagree with Scholz are ready for a new approach?

The Tragedy of Moria

Normally, we really try to make our weekly fun to read. However, there is nothing positive or funny about what happened in the refugee camp “Moria” on the Greek island Lesbos this week. The camp burned down on Wednesday night. This caused between 12,000 and 13,000 refugees to become shelterless. Moria has been the symbol of a dysfunctional EU migration policy, rendered virtually toothless through various Member States not meeting their obligations previously agreed upon in the EU.

These are challenging and sad times, and there are few people not bothered about the bitter fate of those who have already lost nearly everything. This might be a trigger for the EU to finally set an effective migration policy in motion. Until then, there is immediate need for humanitarian help, which various municipalities in Germany have already offered. Unfortunately, comprehensive efforts are still being blocked by the Federal Government, which only wants to receive 150 children. A number which seems ridiculously low compared to the 13,000 people being forced to sleep in atrocious conditions, exposed to the Coronavirus. This case shows the weakness of the EU’s migration policy: even if you want to help, you might not be allowed to.

For an update on COVID-19 in Germany, the Wirecard scandal and The Greens going online, check out the PDF:

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  • The UK reached its first trade agreement since leaving the European Union. While the negotiations with the EU are still ongoing, this deal might be used as a blueprint for other trade negotiations Britain is facing.
  • After a wave of disbelief, the European Parliament decided to skip the usual mass-migration of all MEPs and their employees to Strasbourg and just stay put in Brussels.


Love and politics

When James Mattis called Trump’s “personal diplomacy” visit to North Korea ”unproductive, childish and dangerous”, it certainly sparked inspirations for another month in the Trump-hater pin-up calendar. 

Was it politics or was it LOVE? Fact: It wasn’t Trump, but Kim, a state leader of global prominence, equating their meetings with a “scene from a fantasy film” not to be forgotten, and a “moment of history when I firmly held your Excellency’s hand at the beautiful and sacred location.”

Well, seeking a firm hand(shake) is commonplace not only in politics but in human history. However, if Trump were to leave Kim’s “sacred location” for good, Kim wouldn’t be the first lover to start a war (of the roses).

But that seems unlikely. Kim’s sweet-talking might keep Trump interested and might even lead to a proper “brotherkiss” at their next meeting (just like in Communist times). Maybe, from a spin doctor’s perspective, Trump might want to use these same love-tactics to bring Bernie’s socialist-wing onto his side?

We only know: Love is and has always been politics.

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