In Brief: Top German officials criticize U.S. plan to withdraw troops from Germany

One of the plan's critics is Peter Beyer, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s transatlantic coordinator. He told German news agency dpa that the reduction of American troops makes no geopolitical sense.

Photo by: PixaBay, Pexels

 

By Monika Müller-Kroll and Kate Blair

The U.S. plan to withdraw nearly 12,000 American troops from Germany has drawn criticism by top German officials.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s transatlantic coordinator, Peter Beyer, told news agency dpa the reduction of troops makes no geopolitical sense, while the pro-business Free Democratic Party’s (FDP) defense expert Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann referred to the move as a “kamikaze maneuver.”

Michael Roth from the Federal Foreign Office, meanwhile, called the withdrawal “disappointing,” but he said he also sees it as a chance to strengthen European sovereignty.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced on Wednesday that nearly 5,600 U.S. soldiers stationed in Germany will be moved to other NATO countries and about 6,400 will return to the U.S.

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Opposition parties in the German Bundestag are considering a special inquiry into the Wirecard scandal, after a closed-door session left many questions unanswered.

The payment service provider Wirecard filed for insolvency in June after bosses admitted to a 1.9 billion euros (about 2.2 billion dollars) gap in the balance sheet.

Among the questions being asked is what and when the German economy and finance ministers knew about the company’s alleged fraud — and why action wasn’t taken sooner.

After hours of grilling by the finance committee German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz blamed sloppy auditing.

He wants to see quick reforms to ensure tougher financial supervision and for company auditors to change more frequently.

A special inquiry would require just one-quarter of votes from the German parliament.

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The coronavirus pandemic has plunged Deutsche Bahn into “its worst-ever financial crisis.” 

The railway company’s CEO, Richard Lutz, said yesterday that the company’s losses in the first half of 2020 amounted to 3.7 billion euros.

Lutz said that in times of crisis it’s even more important to invest, which is why Deutsche Bahn purchased 30 ICE high-speed trains and recruited 19,000 new employees this year.

The company’s core business has seen some improvements since May following the loosening of pandemic restrictions in Germany.

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk. 

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