“Understanding” Russia has limits – Angela Merkel is losing patience with Vladimir Putin | Europe

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Senior Merkel ally urges action over Bulgaria’s corruption crisis – POLITICO

Bulgaria has faced daily demonstrations from protesters for almost two months | Nikolay Doychinov/AFP via Getty Images

CDU committee chair Gunther Krichbaum says developments in the country are ‘unacceptable.’

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s efforts to hang on to power amid a spiraling corruption crisis face an unexpected new challenge after a top ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday urged closer scrutiny of Sofia.

For years, Borissov has enjoyed a close alliance with Merkel, and his importance to her center-right European People’s Party grouping on the European stage has triggered numerous accusations that Brussels and Berlin turn a blind eye to the Balkan nation’s rule of law problems.

In a sign that the tide could be turning, however, Gunther Krichbaum, a senior lawmaker from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) urged the chancellor, the EPP and the European Commission to pay closer attention to Bulgaria.

The chair of the Bundestag’s European affairs committee said: “We have to talk seriously with Boyko Borissov’s government, without any ifs and buts.”

“Bulgaria is meanwhile seen as the most corrupt state in Europe. That cannot be. These things are unacceptable,” Krichbaum told POLITICO in a telephone interview. “Bulgaria’s accession to the EU has been linked to clear commitments and expectations, and the citizens of Bulgaria are now being cheated of the fruits of EU membership.”

“Bulgaria must be put on the agenda. The accusations must be substantiated” — Gunther Krichbaum, a senior lawmaker from Germany’s Christian Democratic Union party

For almost two months, Bulgaria has faced daily demonstrations from tens of thousands of protesters who claim an oligarchic mafia has taken control of the nation through its influence over the judiciary, media and state security apparatus. A major new demonstration planned this Wednesday, called “the grand national uprising,” is expected to heap further pressure on Borissov’s government.

German Christian Democrats are viewed as supportive founding fathers of Borissov’s GERB party, and Bulgarians view the German leader as the foreign politician who could most easily destroy Borissov’s political capital if she were to turn against him.

Earlier this summer, Bulgarian protesters addressed the close ties between Merkel and Borissov with a banner captioned: “Mrs Merkel! Aren’t you ashamed of that corrupt guy?”

Krichbaum said that he expected Merkel to raise the accusations by protesters in her discussions with Borissov, and added that the EPP should also become active.

“I clearly see [EPP President] Donald Tusk as having the responsibility to conduct the decisive talks [with the Bulgarian government],” he said. “In view of current developments, more needs to happen.”

Krichbaum also called on the European Commission to probe the state of rule of law in Bulgaria and launch an infringement procedure against the country should concerns persist.

“Bulgaria must be put on the agenda. The accusations must be substantiated,” Krichbaum said. “It is the European Commission’s job, as the guardian of the treaties, to take action. If the Commission sees the accusations as proven, then infringement proceedings must be initiated.”

The German Social Democratic Party (SPD), which is governing in a coalition with Merkel’s CDU, has also criticized the Bulgarian government and has expressed solidarity with protesters in Sofia.

“We should pay more attention to states such as Bulgaria during the German presidency of the Council of the EU,” said Detlef Müller, the SPD’s deputy democracy policy spokesman in the Bundestag.

“I would like to see this issue raised by the German government at meetings of EU leaders or ministers. It is important that basic European principles are respected by all member states,” he added.

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Coronavirus update: German Chancellor Angela Merkel says pandemic to worsen, vaccine key for normality

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned the coronavirus pandemic could worsen in coming months, and that life will not return to normal until a vaccine against it had been developed.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Government has urged people to return to their offices and workplaces to help the economy recover from the pandemic.

Saturday’s key moments:

Merkel says pandemic to worsen, vaccine key for normality

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned the coronavirus pandemic could worsen in coming months, and that life will not return to normal until a vaccine has been developed.

Western Europe’s longest serving leader also called on the world to accelerate the fight against global warming, and for Germany and Europe to maintain dialogue with other major powers through difficult times while beating the drum for democracy.

But as Ms Merkel makes preparations to step down before the next national election in October 2021, she made clear that she expects the pandemic to define her last year in office.

Urging citizens not to drop their guard against the virus as Germany’s daily infection rate rises, she told a news conference: “This is a serious matter, as serious as it’s ever been, and you need to carry on taking it seriously.”

Ms Merkel says further contracts for COVID-19 vaccines were “in the works” between drug companies and the EU.(Reuters: Andreas Gebert)

Even though Germany would not fully repay debt incurred to fund relief measures offsetting the impact of COVID-19 until 2058, such stimulus was essential as the economy could not be allowed to grind to a halt, she said.

Her Government would also work to foster social cohesion in the face of the pandemic, focusing on protecting children and other vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and low-income families, from its effects.

Meanwhile, she said further contracts for COVID-19 vaccines were “in the works” between drug companies and the European Union, whose rotating presidency Germany holds until December.

Spain cracks down on pandemic-denier for inciting hatred

Spanish police arrested a man near the north-eastern city of Zaragoza, who believed the coronavirus pandemic to be a hoax, for inciting hatred and violence by using several anonymous social-media profiles.

The 38-year-old, who claimed that health professionals and the media were behind what he called the “COVID farce”, urged his followers to attack politicians and journalists, police said.

In other posts he said the headquarters of Spain’s doctors’ union should be burned down and described those who believed in the virus as bad and ignorant people who deserved to die, according to the police.

Passing himself off as a government official, police said the suspect allegedly made calls to nursing homes, hospitals and football clubs to spread false information about the pandemic.

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Richard Grenell claims he watched Trump ‘charm’ Germany’s Angela Merkel – POLITICO

Richard Grenell pre-records his address to the Republican National Convention from inside an empty Mellon Auditorium on August 26, 2020 in Washington | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Merkel’s apparent disdain for Trump has been well-documented.

Richard Grenell, America’s former acting director of National Intelligence and ambassador to Germany, claimed he watched U.S. President Donald Trump “charm” German Chancellor Angela Merkel, despite the commander-in-chief’s famously chilly relationship with his counterpart in Berlin.

“I’ve watched President Trump charm the Chancellor of Germany, while insisting that Germany pay its NATO obligations,” Grenell said during a speech Wednesday at the Republican National Convention.

The comments prompted an uproar on Twitter, where users posted numerous photos and videos of Trump speaking as Merkel looks on with skepticism.

Trump has repeatedly criticized Berlin for not meeting its defense spending commitment to NATO, and recently ordered the Pentagon to withdraw thousands of troops from Germany. Merkel’s apparent disdain for Trump, meanwhile, has been well-documented, with the chancellor recently rebuffing the U.S. president’s invitation to the G-7 summit in Washington.

In his speech, Grenell made an impassioned case for Trump’s America First doctrine, arguing that the president’s foreign policy has made the nation safer.

“As U.S. ambassador to Germany, I had a front row seat to Donald Trump’s America First foreign policy,” Grenell said. “I wish every American could see how President Trump negotiates on their behalf.”

Grenell accused both Democrats and Republicans in Washington of buying into the “illusion” of “unlimited globalization,” and leaving behind the interests of “the average American.”

“Entire communities were devastated, and our manufacturing plants were shipped off to China,” Grenell said. “That’s what happened when Washington stopped being the capital of the United States, and started being the capital of the world.”

Trump was the one “outsider” who, during the presidential primary debates in 2016, stood up and “said in public what most Americans thought in private” — that American foreign policy was broken, Grenell said.

By contrast, Joe Biden is the “ultimate Washington insider,” he said.

In addition to praising Trump for his deal-making with foreign leaders, Grenell cited Trump’s leadership on holding China to account and clinching trade deals. In four years, Trump brought troops home instead of starting new wars, rebuilt the military, and signed peace deals “that make Americans safer,” Grenell said.

“Donald Trump’s administration has always made clear that our priority is the American people’s security,” Grenell said. “That’s the job of all leaders — to put their people first.”

Grenell attempted to turn on its head Democrats’ criticism of Trump’s foreign policy as “nationalist,” noting that “The D.C. crowd thinks when they call Donald Trump a nationalist, they’re insulting him.”

“As if the American president isn’t supposed to base foreign policy on America’s national interests,” Grenell said.

Grenell derided the Obama administration’s decision to send “a planeload of cash” to Iran in exchange for the release of four American detainees, contrasting the incident with Trump’s order of an air strike to kill Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

He also accused Democrats of secretly launching a surveillance operation on the Trump campaign in 2016, an operation that “made me sick to my stomach.” Biden himself, he claimed without offering evidence, asked intelligence officials to uncover “hidden information” about Trump’s incoming national security adviser, Michael Flynn, three weeks before the inauguration.

Flynn resigned after just 22 days in office after information emerged that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with top Russian officials during the campaign.

“But that’s the Democrats. Between surveillance, classifications, leaks, and puppet candidates, they never want the American people to know who’s actually calling the shots,” Grenell said. “But with Donald Trump, you always know exactly who is in charge. Because the answer…is you.”

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Macron, Merkel ready to offer Navalny asylum, medical help – POLITICO

Alexei Navalny takes part in a march in memory of murdered Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov in February | Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

Russian opposition activist was rushed to hospital with suspected poisioning.



PARIS — The leaders of France and Germany said Thursday they are ready to offer asylum and medical assistance to Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny, who is in a coma in a hospital suffering from suspected poisoning.

“We are obviously ready to give Navalny and his loved ones all the assistance they need in terms of health, asylum, protection,” French President Emmanuel Macron said at a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Fort de Brégançon in the south of France.

“We hope above all that he can be saved and we will provide all the support we are asked for in order to do that,” Macron added.

Merkel said that “what goes for France also goes for Germany.”

“We would give him all assistance in terms of health, including in German hospitals, if that is wanted,” she said.

Navalny fell ill on Thursday on a flight to Moscow from the Siberian city of Tomsk, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where he was rushed to a hospital with suspected “toxic poisoning” and is in a coma, according to his spokesperson.

Both Macron and Merkel expressed deep concern about the incident and called for swift clarification of the circumstances.

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Merkel says Lukashenko should be part of Belarus dialogue – POLITICO

German Chancellor Angela Merkel | Maja Hitijj/Getty Images

Longtime leader refused to speak with German chancellor.

BERLIN — Alexander Lukashenko should be part of talks over a political settlement in Belarus, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters in Berlin after taking part in a videoconference with fellow EU leaders, Merkel said Lukashenko had so far refused her request to speak by telephone to discuss the fallout of the August 9 presidential election. Official results claimed the longtime authoritarian leader won reelection with 80 percent of the vote, triggering nationwide protests that were violently suppressed by security forces.

“The elections were not fair, they were not free,” said Merkel. “But despite that, Mr Lukashenko is still there. If I’m calling for a national dialogue that should naturally include the people in power there … It’s a complicated situation.”

Merkel described Lukashenko’s refusal to speak with her by telephone as a “real shame.” But she said she does not see Berlin taking “a mediating role” in the conflict between Lukashenko and opposition figures.

Merkel spoke by telephone Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the crisis. But she insisted a resolution must come from within Belarus.

“Belarus must find its own way … and there cannot be external intervention,” said Merkel. “The people of Belarus know what they want.”

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Merkel urges Belarus dialogue in call with Putin – POLITICO

German Chancellor Angela Merkel | Pool photo by John Thys/EPA

German chancellor also calls for immediate release of political prisoners.

BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Tuesday on the Belarusian government to engage in a national dialogue to resolve the current crisis.

Merkel made the call in a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a statement from her spokesman.

“The chancellor underscored that the Belarusian government must refrain from violence against peaceful demonstrators, immediately release political prisoners and engage in a national dialogue with opposition and society in order to overcome the crisis,” spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

Like the EU as a whole, Germany has said it regards the August 9 presidential vote in Belarus as fraudulent and does not recognize the official result, which gave incumbent Alexander Lukashenko 80 percent of the vote.

The result triggered huge protests across the country which were brutally suppressed by authorities.

Russia, which shares a loose political union with Belarus, is watching the situation closely and has denounced attempts to exert pressure from the outside as unacceptable. The Kremlin said Tuesday’s call with Merkel was initiated by Berlin.

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German SPD picks Scholz in race to succeed Merkel – POLITICO

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BERLIN — Germany’s Social Democrats nominated Finance Minister Olaf Scholz as their candidate for chancellor in next year’s general election, settling on a centrist figure the beleaguered party hopes can take advantage of the vacuum that will follow Angela Merkel’s retirement.

The former Hamburg mayor lost a bid to lead the party last year, but Scholz, 62, has long been the most popular Social Democrat among the public, often second only to Merkel among German politicians.

“I want to win,” a smiling Scholz told reporters in Berlin after the announcement Monday.

Germany’s political conventional wisdom holds that the Christian Democrats will once again prevail in the coming election, even assuming that Merkel, their longtime standard-bearer, sticks to her pledge not to seek another term as chancellor. A victory for the party is widely expected to lead to a coalition with the resurgent Greens, in what would be a first for the country.

Nonetheless, the decision by the Social Democrats (SPD), Merkel’s current junior coalition partners, to select the popular Scholz increases the chances — however slightly — of an election surprise.

As finance minister, Scholz has received high marks, especially for his management of the emergency response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The move to tap Scholz, which was taken by the SPD’s leadership Monday morning, had long been rumored, but the timing was unexpected. Germany’s next election won’t take place until sometime in the fall of next year, leaving Scholz in campaign mode, not to mention the spotlight, for more than a year.

It’s a risky strategy for a party whose last two chancellor candidates (Peer Steinbrück, a former finance minister, in 2013, followed by Martin Schulz, ex-president of the European Parliament, in 2017) were also announced well in advance of the election only to see their campaigns run out of steam, leading to crushing defeats that left the once-mighty party in a prolonged state of turmoil.

With Merkel stepping away and her party yet to select its own candidate, the SPD appears to be betting that it can establish the soft-spoken Scholz as the sober voice of experience and reason — in other words, as the next-best thing to Merkel.

The Christian Democrats (CDU), currently in the midst of a leadership race, aren’t expected to settle on a candidate until December, at the earliest. None of those in the running can match Scholz’s experience, however. (Scholz’s Merkel-like demeanor and image have already earned him the moniker “Vati,” or daddy, a play on references to Merkel as “Mutti,” the reassuring mother of the nation.)

As finance minister, Scholz has received high marks, especially for his management of the emergency response to the coronavirus pandemic, which left millions of Germans in temporary work programs and relying on government assistance.

Though Scholz’s selection makes tactical sense, it’s also a deviation from the SPD’s recent leftward course. Last year Scholz lost the SPD’s leadership contest, which was decided by a party-wide vote, to two leftist candidates, Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans, neither of whom were prominent figures in the party. Scholz and his running mate were the establishment favorites, but Esken and Walter-Borjans prevailed with the rank and file by arguing that SPD needed a course of radical renewal. They accused Scholz and other SPD leaders of betraying the party’s socialist roots.

The main object of their ire was the so-called Agenda 2010, a set of economic reforms passed from 2003-2005 under SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schröder that cut welfare benefits and relaxed labor market rules. While many economists attribute Germany’s economic revival in the decade that followed to the program, the SPD’s base complained that the measures triggered social decline. The man who led the push to enact the reforms: the SPD’s then general secretary, Olaf Scholz.

That the party’s new leftist leadership would support the candidacy of a man they say was largely responsible for the party’s recent misery is characteristic of what some outsiders call the SPD’s “schizophrenia.” That’s why the main threat to Scholz’s candidacy could well emerge from the SPD’s own ranks, in particular the party’s vocal left wing.

Many in the SPD blame the party’s woes on its long-standing alliance with the Christian Democrats, known as the “grand coalition,” for which the moderate Scholz is the de facto poster boy. Leftists in the party argue the partnership has left the SPD looking like a cheap copy of the CDU without its own profile or agenda, especially after Merkel moved the Christian Democrats to the left, dominating a space long occupied by the SPD.

Though the new SPD leadership agreed to keep the party in the grand coalition after their surprise victory, they make no secret of their distaste for it.

Even so, most Germans — 64 percent, according to a benchmark poll released last week — support the grand coalition because it provides the stability and social consensus they prize.

Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken defeated Scholz’s leadership bid last year | Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Voter support for the SPD has deteriorated to such an extent, however, that another grand coalition could well be out of reach. Recent polls put the SPD at around 14 percent, down from 20.5 percent in the last election. That leaves the SPD in third place behind Merkel’s Christian Democrats, with 38 percent, and the Greens, with 18 percent.

The SPD was neck and neck with the conservatives above 30 percent as recently as 2017, but has since suffered a historic collapse following Schulz’s fumbled campaign for chancellor, persistent infighting in its ranks and a surge by the Greens, which most observers now regard as the future dominant force on Germany’s left.

On Monday, Scholz vowed to take the party back “well above 20 percent.”

But even the SPD’s own leadership appears to have concluded that its best days are behind it.

Esken, an outspoken figure who pays little heed to political convention, told German public television on Sunday that if need be, she would support a leftist coalition under a Green chancellor. The only time the Greens have been in a federal coalition was as the SPD’s junior partner.

She said the party wouldn’t let “vanity” get in the way of doing what was right for Germany, a remark critics said undercut Scholz’s candidacy before it even began. To secure a majority, such a constellation would also have to include Die Linke, the successor to former East Germany’s communist party. Esken said a three-way coalition with Die Linke would be “possible and something to consider.” Though the SPD governs with Die Linke (and the Greens) in regional administrations, including in Berlin, the former communists, who are currently polling around 8 percent, have never been part of a national government.

Scholz stressed on Monday that Die Linke, which opposes Germany’s NATO membership and is deeply critical of the EU, would have to embrace the SPD’s views on Europe and foreign policy before the parties could cooperate.

Unless German support for the dominant Christian Democrats collapses after Merkel’s exit, that’s a concession the Left is unlikely to have to make.

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Merkel condemns ‘abhorrent’ Stuttgart rampage

Berlin (AFP) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel sharply condemned as “abhorrent” a rampage in Stuttgart where hundreds of partygoers brutally attacked police officers, her spokesman said Monday, as concerns grow that law enforcers are increasingly treated with contempt.

Hundreds of people unleashed a riot of an “unprecedented scale” in the early hours of Sunday in the city centre of Stuttgart, attacking police and plundering stores after smashing shop windows.

Two dozen people, half of them German nationals, were arrested provisionally, as police reported at least 19 colleagues hurt

“Whoever has done this has turned against their city, against the people with whom they live and against the laws that protect us all,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said of the riots that erupted over the weekend.

Tensions had built up shortly after midnight when officers carried out checks on a 17-year-old German male suspected of using drugs, Stuttgart deputy police chief Thomas Berger said.

Crowds milling around the city’s biggest square, the Schlossplatz, immediately rallied around the young man and began flinging stones and bottles at police.

The groups of mostly men also used sticks or poles to smash windows of police vehicles on the square, which is next to the regional parliament of Baden-Wuerttemberg as well as the state’s finance ministry.

At the height of the hours-long clashes, as many as 500 people joined in the battle against police officers and rescue workers.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer travelled to the city on Monday. He paused at a police vehicle with its windows smashed out as he took stock of the trail of destruction.

Calling the violence a “sign of alarm for the rule of law,” Seehofer said the perpetrators must be prosecuted and punished as “punishment is the best means of prevention”.

– Contempt –

He also pointed to the worrying trend that police and emergency workers were increasingly coming under attack, both physically and verbally.

“Besides the attacks and insults, there is also disparagement — and that can hurt just like physical violence,” he said, stressing that politicians must stand behind the police.

In a speech on Monday, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier sent the same message.

“We must resolutely oppose anyone who attacks police officers, who shows contempt for them or gives the impression that they should be ‘disposed of’,” he said.

Police unions and emergency workers have been warning of authorities increasingly coming under attack as they go about their work.

Tensions have also spilled over from the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the United States where officers are accused of being racist.

In a separate incident in Germany’s Lower Saxony state, several police officers were injured while enforcing a coronavirus quarantine imposed on 700 residents of a high-rise building.

And the police union DPolG has filed a lawsuit against a columnist of left-leaning daily TAZ over an article titled: “All cops are unfit for the job”.

On Monday, Seehofer said he too was considering filing a complaint against the writer, warning that irresponsible speech can lead to dramatic consequences.

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Step aside, gents. Lagarde and Merkel take the lead in rebuilding Europe’s economy

Europe’s monetary and fiscal titans are finally moving in lockstep as a wave of German stimulus buttressing additional central-bank easing heralds the prospect of a new era of policy coordination in the region.

Those measures to aid the economic pickup from the coronavirus crisis, announced within half a day of each other in Berlin and Frankfurt, followed a groundbreaking shift toward creating a European recovery fund in Brussels supported by joint borrowing.

Germany needed to act “courageously and decisively,” Chancellor Angela Merkel told German broadcaster ARD in an interview late Thursday as she defended the government’s unprecedented spending spree. “Luckily in the good times we have acted in a way that enables us to do this now.”

Each initiative is already substantial, but combined they’re quite the show of force. They also suggest that Europe, which has long struggled to find common ground over economic policy, is more than ever exhibiting a sense of collective purpose.

“The shift in policy making at the European level has been tremendously significant,” said Neville Hill, chief European economist at Credit Suisse in London. “It’s not only capable of allowing the euro-area economy to recover well from the near-term crisis, but it does raise the prospect of a better, and a better-balanced, policy framework in the European Union once it’s recovered.”

At the center are two women who can draw on unique experience of prior financial market turmoil. Germany’s long-serving chancellor oversaw two days of tense negotiations to clinch a 130 billion-euro ($147 billion) stimulus push, after Merkel brought her government round to sharing its fiscal might to back the EU’s new borrowing tool.

Meanwhile, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, a former French finance minister and International Monetary Fund chief, has kept her institution at the forefront of crisis firefighting, while bluntly telling governments that it can’t do the job alone. Policy makers expanded bond purchases by 600 billion euros on Thursday, and could still add to that in future.

“The ECB is acting much more aggressively than it has ever done before, and so is the German government,” said Nick Kounis, an economist at ABN Amro in Amsterdam. “The policy response has been much more rapid and coordinated and focused compared to the global financial crisis.”

Stimulus Salvo
ECB unveiled more easing action on Thursday
Emergency bond-buying increased to 1.35 trillion euros
Program horizon extended until June 2021
Maturing proceeds will be reinvested at least until end of 2022

Some of the debt the ECB will buy will be German — conveniently issued to pay for the country’s new stimulus. That fiscal-monetary connection is already well underway in countries such as the U.K., where the central bank and government have emphasized their coordination.

A mark of success for euro-area officials came in the form of Italian 10-year bond yields, which dropped to the lowest level in two months on Thursday. That narrowed the spread over German debt that’s long been a warning signal for officials. It had spiked in March, when Lagarde mistakenly suggested the ECB wasn’t interested in keeping it in check.

The emergency that has provoked Europe’s economic actors into changing their ways remains pressing. Lagarde said on Thursday that the region’s contraction in the second quarter will be “unprecedented” — leading to a near 9% slump this year.

“An ambitious and coordinated fiscal stance remains critical,” she added.

57 Measures

Germany — the region’s biggest economy — is set to weather that better than partners such as Italy, though officials in Berlin still anticipate the worst loss of output since the aftermath of World War II.

With that in mind, Merkel’s stimulus exceeded expectations. The package, including 57 measures from a sales-tax cut to a bonus for parents, was tailored to ensure as wide a reach as possible.

Such German efforts are turning a page for the country after years of balanced budgets, driven by an orthodoxy of fiscal rectitude. They also mark a faster response than in 2009.

“With the pandemic under control and substantial fiscal support in place, Germany looks well-placed to bounce back in the second half,” says Bloomberg economist Jamie Rush.

Similarly, the ECB has acted swiftly and boldly, in contrast to the slow-motion reaction, punctuated by years of policy wrangling, that followed the financial crisis and subsequent debt turmoil in the region.

Europe’s next frontier for policy making is likely to focus on the EU recovery fund, which will pool borrowing powers with a view to distributing aid as needed.

It’s yet to be endorsed by all governments and could be watered down. But if it takes shape, it will begin to redress an imbalance in the design of the euro, which fused monetary policies without symmetry on the fiscal side.

With “the combination of German fiscal expansion and the EU recovery fund — as well as nobody talking about austerity despite the big fiscal slippage due to the coronavirus — finally a joint Europe is coming together,” said Jens Peter Sorensen, chief analyst at Danske Bank A/S.

More on the most powerful women in business from Fortune:

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