- Germany sells the family silver and the kitchen sink…
By Yasmin El-Sharif/Spiegel
The emirate of Qatar is waiting for Porsche and Volkswagen to settle their power struggle, but its patience will eventually run out, insiders say. Even if it ditches its plans to buy a stake in either firm, though, the wealthy Gulf state still has its sights set on investments in Germany.
The telephones have been ringing off the hook for weeks. From Doha to Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg or to Porsche’s base in Zuffenhausen near Stuttgart — German automakers cherish the calls from Qatar’s capital city.
There’s no decision yet on whether the emirate will end up buying a stake in Porsche or in Volkswagen, the two carmakerslocked in an escalating power struggle.Â While the two carmakers rush out public statements almost every day, Qatar is keeping mum, which begs the question what the country is planning.Â
Little is known of its business plans but it’s clear that the tiny country with a population of just 250,000 has embarked on a shopping spree in Europe, and is showing particular interest in Germany. Like many other Gulf states, Qatar wants to reduce its dependence on oil production by snapping up Western know-how and securing stakes in key Western industries.
Gaining Know-How for Domestic Consumption
Qatar has two goals, says Martin BÃ¶ll, the Dubai correspondent of Germany Trade & Invest, a firm that advises foreign companies that want to expand into the German market. “They want to invest excess capital, secure long-term revenues and diversify. And they also want to obtain know-how for their domestic economy in order to generate jobs in this way,” he says.
- German court affirms swim compulsion for Muslim girls…. Â
- A survey has shown that only 7 per cent of Muslim girls actually do skip swimmingÂ classes. But the practice of barring Muslim children from elite schools if they refuse to conform has resonated through the Islamic community. (Muslims in elite schools? That’s a new one for socialist Germany./ed)