Connect with us

Germany

Apple preps Germany 5G unit as part of €1B investment

Published

on

Apple set out plans to expand its engineering operation in Munich to include a facility focused on developing chips and software related to 5G and future wireless systems, writes Chris Donkin.

The creation of a European Silicon Design Centre in the German city, Apple noted, will add hundreds of new employees to its R&D operation in the region and comprise part of a €1 billion investment over three years to improve its facilities in the country.

Munich is already the US company’s largest engineering facility in Europe, with teams focused on power management technology, application processor SoCs, and analogue and mixed signal solutions used in its iPhones.

Its new unit will be housed in an already constructed 30,000 square-metre building with the company set to to start moving into the site in late 2022.

The company claimed its facility would become Europe’s “largest R&D site for mobile wireless semiconductors and software”.

Apple’s increased investment in its chip development facilities in Germany comes at a time when several European Union countries are actively trying to improve the region’s position in the semiconductor market to reduce dependency on imports from the US and Asia.

Energy

US and Germany strike Nord Stream 2 pipeline deal to push back on Russian 'aggression'

Published

on

By

Workers are seen at the construction site of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, near the town of Kingisepp, Leningrad region, Russia, June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov/File Photo

The United States and Germany have unveiled an agreement on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline under which Berlin pledged to respond to any attempt by Russia to use energy as a weapon against Ukraine and other Central and Eastern European countries, write Simon Lewis, Andrea Shalal, Andreas Rinke, Thomas Escritt, Pavel Polityuk, Arshad Mohammed, David Brunnstrom and Doyinsola Oladipo.

The pact aims to mitigate what critics see as the strategic dangers of the $11 billion pipeline, now 98% complete, being built under the Baltic Sea to carry gas from Russia's Arctic region to Germany.

U.S. officials have opposed the pipeline, which would allow Russia to export gas directly to Germany and potentially cut off other nations, but President Joe Biden's administration has chosen not to try to kill it with US sanctions.

Instead, it has negotiated the pact with Germany that threatens to impose costs on Russia if it seeks to use the pipeline to harm Ukraine or other countries in the region.

But those measures appeared to have done little to calm fears in Ukraine, which said it was asking for talks with both the European Union and Germany over the pipeline. The agreement also faces political opposition in the United States and Germany.

A joint statement setting out the details of the deal said Washington and Berlin were "united in their determination to hold Russia to account for its aggression and malign activities by imposing costs via sanctions and other tools."

If Russia attempts to "use energy as a weapon or commit further aggressive acts against Ukraine," Germany will take steps on its own and push for actions at the EU, including sanctions, "to limit Russian export capabilities to Europe in the energy sector," the statement said.

It did not detail specific Russian actions that would trigger such a move. "We elected not to provide Russia with a road map in terms of how they can evade that commitment to push back," a senior State Department official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We also will certainly look to hold any future German governments accountable for the commitments that they have made in this," the official said.

Under the agreement, Germany will "utilize all available leverage" to extend by 10 years the Russia-Ukraine gas transit agreement, a source of major revenues to Ukraine that expires in 2024.

Germany will also contribute at least $175 million to a new $1 billion "Green Fund for Ukraine" aimed at improving the country's energy independence.

Ukraine sent notes to Brussels and Berlin calling for consultations, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet, adding the pipeline "threatens Ukraine's security." Read more.

Kuleba also issued a statement with Poland's foreign minister, Zbigniew Rau, pledging to work together to oppose Nord Stream 2.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he was looking forward to a "frank and vibrant"discussion with Biden over the pipeline when the two meet in Washington next month. The visit was announced by the White House on Wednesday, but press secretary Jen Psaki said the timing of the announcement was not related to the pipeline agreement.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin hours before the release of the agreement, the German government said, saying Nord Stream 2 and gas transit via Ukraine were among the topics.

The pipeline had been hanging over US-German relations since former President Donald Trump said it could turn Germany into a "hostage of Russia" and approved some sanctions.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter he was "relieved that we have found a constructive solution".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, asked about the reported details of the agreement earlier on Wednesday, said any threat of sanctions against Russia was not "acceptable," according to the Interfax news agency.

Even before it was made public, leaked details of the agreement were drawing criticism from ome lawmakers in both Germany and the United States.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who has been holding up Biden's ambassadorial nominations over his concerns about Nord Stream 2, said the reported agreement would be "a generational geopolitical win for Putin and a catastrophe for the United States and our allies."

Cruz and some other lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are furious with the Democratic president for waiving congressionally mandated sanctions against the pipeline and are working on ways to force the administration's hand on sanctions, according to congressional aides.

Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said she was not convinced the agreement would mitigate the impact of the pipeline, which she said "empowers the Kremlin to spread its malign influence throughout Eastern Europe."

"I’m skeptical that it will be sufficient when the key player at the table – Russia – refuses to play by the rules," Shaheen said.

In Germany, top members of the environmentalist Greens party called the reported agreement "a bitter setback for climate protection" that would benefit Putin and weaken Ukraine.

Biden administration officials insist the pipeline was so close to being finished when they took office in January that there was no way for them to prevent its completion.

"Certainly we think that there is more that the previous administration could have done," the US official said. "But, you know, we were making the best of a bad hand."

Continue Reading

Climate change

We have to fight global warming much faster - Merkel

Published

on

By

Not enough has been done to reduce carbon emissions to help tackle global warming, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (pictured) said last week, writes Kirsti Knolle, Reuters.

"This is not only true for Germany but for many countries in the world," Merkel told a news conference in Berlin, adding that it was important to implement measures compatible with climate goals in the Paris agreement.

Merkel, who stands down as chanceller later this year, said she had devoted much energy during her political career on climate protection but was very aware of the need for much speedier action.

Continue Reading

Germany

Preparing to bow out, Merkel too busy to think about life after office

Published

on

By

Germany's Angela Merkel made clear last week she would keep working on issues such as climate change till her last day as chancellor but, inscrutable as ever, gave little away about her plans once she leaves office after a 26 September election, writes Madeline Chambers.

Merkel has led Germany for 16 years, steering Europe's biggest economy through a global financial crisis, the euro zone debt crisis, a migrant crisis and the coronavirus pandemic, but she is not running for a fifth term.

"Every week has challenges. Look at the events we face - rising coronavirus cases, terrible floods. You can't say there aren't issues to be sorted out," Merkel said at her final annual summer news conference, which yielded little hard news.

"There are demands made of me while I am in office and I will continue in that way until my last day," said the conservative chancellor, known for her sober approach.

The 67-year old trained physicist who grew up in Communist East Germany said she had not reflected much on what she would do when she steps down.

"There is little time and space to think about the time after," she said when asked about her plans.

In the last few weeks, she has undertaken something of a farewell tour, paying visits to the United States and Britain.

However, in a self-assured appearance in which she smiled and made a few ironic comments, Merkel hinted she may still have a role to play in the European Union's climate protection plans, entitled "Fit for 55".

Saying tough negotiations on this could start while a new German government was being formed, she said: "We want to make sure we have a good handover," adding she might make a start.

Dubbed the "climate chancellor" in 2007 for championing the issue with Group of Eight leaders and for pushing through a switch to renewable energy in Germany, Merkel acknowledged the pace of change had been too slow.

"I think I have spent a great deal of energy on climate protection," Merkel said.

"Still, I am sufficiently equipped with a scientific mind to see that the objective circumstances show we cannot continue at this pace, but that we must move faster."

As Germany's first female chancellor, Merkel has been at pains not to cast herself as a strong feminist. Asked about the characteristics of women in politics, she struck a typically self-deprecating note.

"There tends to be a longing among women for efficiency," she said, adding that there were also exceptions. She said other women had done more for equality than she had, but that she had achieved something.

Merkel, a Lutheran woman in a male-dominated, traditionally Catholic party, was caught off guard when asked where she would be on election night, and stumbled in saying she hadn't thought about it but would be in touch with her party.

She betrayed no emotion about her impending departure, merely noting: "You usually only notice what you miss once you no longer have it."

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending