Scholz urges EU and China to ‘seize opportunity’ in tariff talks

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz Monday urged China and the EU to “seize the opportunity” after the two sides began talks to resolve a row over proposed tariffs on imported Chinese electric cars.

The European Union warned this month that it would slap additional duties of up to 38 percent on Chinese electric vehicle imports from July after an anti-subsidy probe, in a move that risks provoking a bitter trade war.

At the weekend, the EU said its trade chief and his Chinese counterpart held “candid and constructive” talks on the issue, with the two sides to have further consultations.

Speaking at the annual conference of the influential BDI industry lobby, Scholz said it was “important” for the EU and Beijing to “seize the opportunity by the end of the month… to reach an understanding”.

“There is still a little time” until the tariffs come into force, he added.

Germany has been rattled by the EU’s move, as its auto makers have massive investments in China that could be affected by any retaliatory measures, and has expressed hope the dispute can be resolved via negotiations.

READ ALSO: Only Berlin bucks trend as record numbers of cars hit the road in Germany

Scholz also stressed however there would need to be “serious movement and progress from the Chinese side” for an agreement to reached.

Injured Rudiger in doubt for Germany’s last 16 match

Euro 2024 hosts Germany have been hit with fresh defensive concerns ahead of their last 16 clash, with centre-back Antonio Rudiger in doubt with a thigh injury.

The German FA (DFB) said Monday Rudiger would be in doubt for the match, against an as yet undetermined opponent in Dortmund on Saturday, from the side’s training base in the Bavarian village of Herzogenaurach.

injured Rudiger

Germany’s Antonio Rüdiger (L) was injured while playing against the Swiss national team on Sunday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Arne Dedert

Coach Julian Nagelsmann will need to find a new partnership in central defence, with Jonathan Tah already ruled out of the last 16 match due to a yellow card suspension.

Germany qualified first in their group having snatched a 1-1 draw with Switzerland thanks to a stoppage-time goal from Niclas Fullkrug on Sunday in Frankfurt.

Rudiger completed Sunday’s game but scans on Monday showed a tear in his right thigh. Nagelsmann said after the game the Real Madrid defender had finished the match despite an injury complaint.

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Three-time Euros winners Germany are set to face whoever finishes second in Group C. England are currently first in the group on four points, followed by Denmark and Slovenia on two points and Serbia on one, with the remaining fixtures to be played on Wednesday.

Two held in Germany for blackmailing Michael Schumacher’s family

German authorities said Monday they had arrested a father and son on suspicion of trying to blackmail the family of the former Formula One driver Michael Schumacher.

The suspects contacted family representatives claiming to have files the Schumachers “would not want to have published”, prosecutors in the western German city of Wuppertal said in a statement.

“To stop the files being published online, the perpetrators demanded a payment in the millions,” the prosecutors said.

The suspects transferred “individual files” to the family to show they had access to sensitive documents, prosecutors said.

The seven-time world champion has not been seen in public since he suffered a serious brain injury in a 2013 skiing accident in the French Alps.

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READ ALSO: Editor fired over ‘tasteless’ Schumacher interview

Investigators in Germany were tipped off about the case by authorities in Switzerland, where Schumacher has been cared for at the family home since the accident.

“Technical measures” made it possible to trace the alleged extortionists to Wuppertal, they said.

The two suspects, who were on probation in another case, were arrested by police on June 19 in a supermarket parking lot in Gross-Gerau, south of Frankfurt, prosecutors said.

Authorities searched eight properties, as well as the main residences of the suspects, seizing “several data storage devices”.

If convicted, the suspects face a prison sentence of up to five years.

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‘Situation on Israel’s northern border more than worrying’ warns Germany’s Foreign Minister

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock described a worrying situation on the border between Israel and Lebanon and warned of even more violence on Monday.

“A further escalation would be a catastrophe for all people in the region,” said Baerbock (Greens) on Monday morning before a trip to the Middle East.

She added that a ceasefire in Gaza is needed for peace for all sides in the region. 

Conflict between the Israeli army with the pro-Iranian Hezbollah and other groups in Lebanon has recently escalated, with deaths on both sides.

Baerbock made the comments at an EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg before traveling to the Middle East to hold talks in Israel and Lebanon.

Annalena Baerbock Federal Foreign Minister, welcomes Mohammed Mustafa, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, in Ramallah. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Hannes P Albert

On Tuesday morning the Foreign Minister met with the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mohammed Mustafa, in Ramallah. They focused on the PA’s reform efforts.

Baerbock has said that the Palestinian Authority could play an important role in the Gaza Strip after the war.

A high proportion of single parents are at risk of poverty

Of approximately 1.7 million single parents with minor children in Germany, 41 percent were low-income last year, according to a study by the Bertelsmann Stiftung.

In comparison only eight percent of two-parent families with one child, and 30 percent with three or more minor children were considered to be at risk of poverty.

The study found that single parents’ relative poverty is not due to unemployment – 71 percent of single mothers and 87 percent of single fathers have a job.

These findings come as the traffic light coalition wrestles with a plan to bundle previous benefits for children in a so-called basic child benefit.

The current draft law on basic child benefits is “far from sufficient to free single parent families from the poverty trap,” say the study authors.

READ ALSO: More childcare, less paperwork – How Germany can make life easier for foreign parents 

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With reporting by DPA.

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