Poland increases pressure on Berlin

Good morning dear readers,

Last night Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed Poland’s initiative to provide his country with Leopard main battle tanks. “Thank you to President Duda, the Polish government and all our Polish friends,” Zelenski said in his daily video address on the outcome of a meeting with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda and Lithuanian leader Gitanas Nausėda in Lviv.

After the meeting, Duda said his country wanted to give the Ukrainians Leopard main battle tanks for a company. In Poland, as in Germany, a Leopard company is usually equipped with 14 main battle tanks. Duda went on to say that the prerequisite was, on the one hand, “a whole series of formal requirements and approvals”. On the other hand, Poland wants an international coalition to form in which other countries also contribute battle tanks.

This is where things get tricky for Germany, because the crucial approval Duda alludes to would have to come from Berlin: Because the tanks are German-made, the federal government can allow or refuse them to be passed on to Ukraine. However, the latter would be a very unfriendly act towards both Poland and Ukraine.

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But if Berlin agrees to the delivery of Polish Leopards, Olaf Scholz will no longer be able to refuse the delivery of Leopard tanks from German stocks. Especially since other Western countries are now also signaling their willingness to deliver. The Chancellor’s line was always: No other ally supplies western battle tanks, and we’re not going it alone.

Leopard 2 main battle tanks: Ukraine has long been pushing for supplies of western main battle tanks to recapture areas occupied by Russian troops.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said on Wednesday he expected a decision on the delivery of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine to be made in a few weeks. He told journalists in Stockholm: “I think it’s pretty well known what Ukraine needs.”

Each country will now try to decide what it can do. The needs of one’s own armed forces, but also the regulations and decisions of the partner countries, must be taken into account. That’s why you will have to wait “a few more weeks”.

Sounds like a nice paraphrase for: We’re going to be patient until the federal government finally moves.

“Resilience” and “technology sovereignty”: These are the buzzwords that are currently never entirely wrong with the relevant panel discussions and think tank meetings. If in doubt, add “geoeconomically” as well. What is usually meant when these terms are used: the large economic blocs want to do more on their own again, want to depend less on imports and exports, foreign know-how and capital.

That applies to the European Union. But also for the three states of the North American Free Trade Association USMCA (formerly called Nafta). The heads of government of Canada, Mexico and the USA announced at the end of their summit meeting that it was a matter of bringing goods production back from abroad to the North American region.


The three countries agreed to “deepening value chains”. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized that these chains should primarily include future technology – “rare minerals, electric cars and also semiconductors”.

For US President Joe Biden, however, the summit was also about a politically much more pressing issue: the large number of migrants pouring into the United States from Mexico. In the 12 months ended October 2022, the US intercepted 2.76 million undocumented migrants, according to CBP.

In the dispute over the federal government’s climate course, the Greens parliamentary group is increasing the pressure on Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP). According to a report in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, the parliamentary group board wants to decide on proposals for measures in Wissing’s area of ​​responsibility today under the title “Starter package for more climate protection in the transport sector”.

“The transport sector has a devastating climate balance,” said Green Party leader Katharina Dröge of the “SZ”. And: “Volker Wissing has to get out of the slow train to protect the climate.”

With the paper, one wants to “support Wissing in achieving its climate protection goals,” said Dröge.

To a fellow coalition partner, this is a similarly charming act as hanging photos of ultra-slim models on your fridge at home to “support” your chubby partner in losing weight.

According to “SZ”, the paper requires, among other things, a reform of company car taxation. At the same time, “the purchase and use of cars with high fuel consumption” should no longer be encouraged. In addition, the Greens are calling for more speed in the targeted climate-friendly reform of the commuter allowance.

One thing is undisputed: When it comes to climate protection in Germany, the transport sector is lagging behind the CO2 reduction targets set by the federal government. And Wissing has not seemed particularly determined to change that at the expense of drivers if necessary.

We’ll stay with the traffic: If car sales don’t go that way anymore, Mercedes could knit its own quiz show around its cryptic model names at any time. Today’s million euro question: Is the Mercedes EQC 400 4MATIC:

a) A C-Class sedan with an electric drive?

b) An SUV with a coupé rear and a four-liter engine?

c) A four-door coupe based on the E-Class with 400 hp?

d) An SUV with an electric drive?

Mercedes EQS at a car show: From 2024, all new electric cars of the group should do without the additional logo.

(Photo: IMAGO/Pacific Press Agency)

Answer d) is correct, although not particularly obvious.

Now it is becoming apparent that Mercedes wants to at least clear up the confusion of names a bit: the electric sub-brand EQ is to disappear. The name stands for “Electric Intelligence” and has been used for the type designations of the fully electric Mercedes models since 2019. But from 2024, all new Stromers with the star will no longer have the additional logo, according to Handelsblatt auto reporter Franz Hubik from corporate circles.

The matter has not yet been finally decided. Internally, however, it is becoming apparent that future vehicle generations will again be marketed under their old names, regardless of the type of drive. The EQE would then become the E-Class, for example, and the EQC (see above) would become the GLC. By moving away from the combustion engine, there is no longer a need for a separate electric sub-brand, says an insider.

The EQ abbreviation from Mercedes will probably not die completely. The Swabians also want to use the logo in the future as a brand for accessories and services related to electromobility. It is about wall boxes, charging services and energy storage for your own home.

I wish you a day when you can recognize your personal EQ even without a type designation.

Best regards


Christian Rickens

Editor-in-Chief Handelsblatt

Morning Briefing: Alexa

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