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Germany, 2014

The German government is considering stepping up its counter-espionage activity against Britain and the United States in light of allegations of widespread surveillance in Germany by US agents. Robert Mudge, an editor at the German news agency Deutsche Welle, gave VoR the latest on the situation.

The British Prime Minister has again insisted that western countries should step up “with further hard-hitting economic sanctions” against Russia. Europe's major capitals, however, are wary of any radical steps and have accused the UK of hypocrisy.

The European Commission said on Wednesday that low-fare airline Ryanair must repay about €9.6 million in illegal state aid it received for its operations in several French regional airports. The Commission, the European Union's executive arm, said Ryanair would have to repay €868,000 in relation to rebates and marketing arrangements negotiated at Angouleme airport in central France.

New figures suggest UK’s economy will grow by just over three percent in 2014, making it the fastest growing major economy this year. But there will be reservations about what a rising GDP actually means for the majority of Britons. And although the forecast is better than many analysts had predicted, there are doubts about the long-term sustainability of any recovery. VoR’s Flora Neve has this report.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel turned 60 on July 17. Born Angela Dorothea Kasner in Hamburg, she grew up in a small town near East Berlin, where her father served as a Lutheran pastor. Merkel earned a doctorate in physics and worked as a researcher at a scientific academy in Berlin. Her political career began in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall. She became the first woman to lead the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the first post-reunification chancellor to hail from the former East Germany.

German politicians say they are considering using typewriters to create sensitive documents in the wake of a US surveillance scandal. VoR's Brendan Cole spoke to Professor Anthony Glees at the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham, about security in the post-Snowden era.

 

Germany became the first European side to win a World Cup on Latin American soil in Sunday's final against Argentina whose captain Lionel Messi was out to emulate the great Diego Maradona. In the end, it went to extra time and the winning goal was scored by Mario Götze.

An announcement from Berlin that Germany has asked a CIA official to leave the country has increased diplomatic tensions with the US. It's the second incident involving so-called 'spying' on Germany by American operatives after a German was arrested on suspicion of selling information to the US last week. VoR's Tim Ecott spoke to Tom Bristow, editor of www.thelocal.de.

The German government is considering scrapping an anti-spying agreement it has held with the United States since 1945. It comes in response to a scandal over a 'double agent' which has once again soured the relationship between Berlin and Washington following revelations last year that the US had bugged Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.  VoR’s Simon Parker reports.

Brazil's World Cup dream was smashed into oblivion as majestic Germany ran riot to win an extraordinary semi-final 7-1 and send the South American hosts crashing to their worst ever defeat in their 100-year footballing history.

European leaders meeting in Brussels have confirmed the former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker as the next President of the European Commission, despite opposition from British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said he is "not the right person." VoR’s Tim Walklate spoke to Benjamin Fox of euobserver.com, an online magazine specialising in European affairs.

Britain will begin this year to import gas from Russia under a formal contract for the first time. The country's biggest utility Centrica signed a deal in 2012 with Russian state-controlled Gazprom to import 2.4 billion cubic metres of gas over a period of three years, and the supplies will begin flowing in October.

Diplomatic efforts to calm the Ukraine crisis inched forward Monday, with Moscow saying it would consider Western proposals for talks on the standoff but insisting Crimea had the right to secede. Washington has warned of wider sanctions but key to any kind of sanctions against Russia is the role of Germany who is Russia's biggest trading partner. We spoke to Fredrik Erixon, the director of the Brussels-based think tank, European Centre for International Political Economy.

All the stops were pulled out for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s high-profile visit to the UK today: She received the red-carpet treatment, with a historic speech to parliament and even an audience with the Queen for tea. However, all the fanfare wasn’t enough to coax strong support from Mrs Merkel for re-negotiating the terms of the UK’s EU membership.

 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for the UK to remain a strong voice within the European Union. In a speech to both Houses of Parliament with Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband in attendance, Mrs Merkel spoke about reform of the European Union and stressed the importance of solidarity and unity within the bloc.

Angela Merkel is in London today, on a visit which will see the German Chancellor meet the Queen and address both Houses of Parliament. The red carpet treatment she's being given underlines the high profile nature of her visit. But more significant politically, she'll also have talks with Prime Minister David Cameron. We speak to Almut Möller of the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin.

There have been calls for Germany to make more arrests of alleged Auschwitz guards. This follows the detention of nine people suspected of working at the concentration camp during World War Two. In September German's main agency for investigating Nazi war crimes recommended the prosecution of 30 guards from Auschwitz. Scott Craig spoke to Dr Efraim Zuroff, chief Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal centre.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will discuss the future of the European Union with Prime Minister David Cameron on a visit to London this month, as Britain seeks support for a sweeping overhaul of EU treaties. Merkel will visit around Feb. 27, according to sources who also said she would address Parliament - a privilege rarely extended to foreign leaders.

 

 

Britain and Germany are pulling in different directions over EU reform. That's according to the new German Foreign Minister, who visited Britain for the first time yesterday. Frank-Walter Steinmeier said treaty change is not the top priority for any European government. David Cameron's hopes of renegotiating Britain's relationship with the EU ahead of 2017's referendum had largely rested with Germany - last week French President Francois Holland said treaty change was not a 'priority'. Natasha Moriarty reports.

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron has welcomed the news that the International Monetary Fund has raised its growth forecast for the UK - up from 1.7 percent to 2.4 percent. It's the third upgrade over the last 12 months by the IMF and means Britain in now growing faster than any other major European economy. Juliet Spare has this report.

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