Germany on a Different Track

But low interest rates and cheap ECB loans to banks have revived Germany’s long-dormant real-estate market, pushing average property prices up 5% in the past year, twice the rate of inflation. In small towns in Germany, prices aren’t rising much, but in certain desirable neighborhoods in Berlin and some other cities prices recently have shown double-digit growth from a year earlier. (more)

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A Village Where Europe Can Take a Stroll and Plot Its Future

MESEBERG, Germany — Under Communism, the lakeside 18th-century Baroque palace in this village in the state of Brandenburg housed nine families upstairs and a branch of the East German general store known simply as Konsum downstairs. After a multimillion-dollar renovation several years ago, the castle now serves as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s version of Camp David, the American presidential retreat. (more)

What’s New in Berlin?

With a new airport and a major five-star luxury hotel on the way, Berlin seems poised to get a new influx of visitors.

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Berlin’s tourism marketing organization, visitBerlin, reported that last year, a total of 9.8 million people visited the German capital, to the tune of 22.4 million overnights. This corresponds to an increase of 9 percent in arrivals, and 7.5 percent in hotel nights, compared to the previous year. The city is now the third most popular travel destination in Europe—only behind London and Paris, and ahead of Rome. (more )

German Investor Confidence Surges to a 21-Month High: Economy

March 13 (Bloomberg) — German investor confidence jumped to a 21-month high in March after the European Central Bank flooded financial markets with cash and the sovereign debt crisis showed signs of abating.

The ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim said today its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict economic developments six months in advance, advanced to 22.3 from 5.4 in February. That’s the fourth straight increase and the highest reading since June 2010.(more)

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Air Berlin Plc : airberlin comfort service: new benefits for frequent flyers and business travellers

• strategic partnership between airberlin and Etihad Airways
• airberlin becomes a full member of the global airline alliance oneworld®
• intensified activity at the Berlin, Dusseldorf und Vienna hubs
• new: the topbonus Platinum Card for frequent flyers
• two years of business points: 10,000 members

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The main areas of focus for airberlin in 2012 are the strategic partnership with Etihad Airways, membership in the global airline alliance oneworld, intensified activity at its hubs both at its future home base at Berlin-Brandenburg (BER), but also in the expansion of the hubs in Dusseldorf and Vienna and the continuation of its comfort initiative. airberlin CEO Hartmut Mehdorn said: “In collaboration with our new partner Etihad Airways and as a member of the oneworld airline alliance, we are able to offer our customers a significantly improved and more attractive range of flights, as well as the opportunity to earn topbonus award and status miles on all flights with Etihad Airways and across the entire network of the oneworld Alliance (more)

The Cause of the Latest German Economic Miracle

The New York Times has a nice piece on the differences between the French and German economies. They’ve framed it by looking at two small towns, one just on each side of the common border.

It’s worth reading in full but I just wanted to emphasise this particular point:

French salaries have increased in real terms while German salaries have fallen, making French workers more expensive and thus less productive and competitive.

It is that and that alone which is the cause of the latest German economic miracle. As the rest of Europe flounders in economic chaos (admittedly, more chaotic the further south you go) it is this screwing down of wages which has led to the relative success. (more)