Mainland Europe adopts Germanic cartel business patterns

Press conference by Margrethe Vestager, Member of the European Commission in charge of Competition about maritime car carriers cartel. Date: 21/02/2018. Location: Brussels – EC/Berlaymont. © European Union, 2018 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Jennifer Jacquemart.

As in VW’s diesel engines emissions scandal, in the case of Estonia’s half banking system working as mafia’s financiers, it was the Americans to unveil the wrongdoings. Is it by chance or the Europeans are looking the other way, when it comes to their own dirty laundry? Those calculated frame ups are not only meant to blind, the usually accommodating authorities, but more so to rig the consumers. Again last week it was the Americans who accused the German luxury car company BMW for rigging its diesel engines emissions exactly as VW did.

And what about the good old free market competition in Europe? All kind of public opinion leaders, mainstream politicians, economists, journalists and ideologists have been brainwashing us for centuries about that. However, when the real danger approaches for some long established companies – being theoretically competitors – like the German carmakers, they get together and untrammeled by any authority they form illegal cartels to confront an existential challenge, as it’s currently the advent of the electric car era.

German carmakers cartel

VW has invested heavily in diesel engines, and now tries to remedy this monumental blunder by teaming up with the rest of the German carmakers to face the Tesla challenge. In the latest incident that the Europeans forget what about capitalism is – free and fair completion – BMW and Daimler the largest luxury car producers, teamed up to confront the challenge of Uber, the US firm which changes the way people move in the urban environment. Cheating and forming cartels has become in Europe the standard business behavior, mainly by German multinationals.

Nobody seemed to also care less for the competition rules than in the largest German bank, the infamous – by good business standards – Deutsche Bank. Some two years ago when it had grave difficulties with the US authorities and was plagued with financial and penal litigations and huge fines, the German big business/government bosses – the joint deep state circles – rose and with one voice said they would do whatever it takes to save the bank.

Rigging competition rules

Mind you, this was not the European Central Bank, the competent authority to take any action in favor or against Deutsche bank. It was the ‘deep German state’ that knows no limits when it’s about salvaging their own and their way of doing things. This obvious breach of competition rules didn’t attract any interest from the competent authorities in Brussels and Berlin. It’s the usual European inaction, when ‘our guys’ are doing something wrong. It’s exactly as in 2008, when the Berlin government saved a number of faltering regional deposit banks with illegal subsidies of €50bn  – traditional German regional banking institutions – without even telling the Brussels competition authorities about it.

Still to this day, Deutsche Bank is in turmoil. Its CEO John Cryan, a transfer from London’s misty banking alleys, the non executive President Paul Achleitner, a real ‘deep state’ fox and the CFO James von Moltke, a strict accounting animal, are hammering each other, with accusations quite unusual for that kind and size of business and nobody tells us why or for what. The CFO accuses the CEO of wrongdoings with nothing less than half a billion dollars without elaborating and Achleitner doesn’t say a word.

Obscure practices

According to the reliable business news group Handelsblatt, it’s about “unexpected charges of half a billion dollars for the first quarter”. Again, this is not good business practice and of course it’s neither free and fair completion/capitalism. In such a grey financial environment no economic actor can make decisions in full knowledge of the terms of the game and of the possible repercussions of its action. Big business leaders work behind closed doors and usually advertise the opposite of what they have secretly decided to do. The rest of the economy is left in darkness.

Speaking of big business wrongdoings, of course the Americans have their share. Take, for example, the technology Leviathans Alphabet/Google, facebook, twitter, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and others less knotted with people’s everyday life. They are all systemic tax evaders and data usurpers. However, they do not flagrantly breach competition rules as the Europeans do. For example the AT&T merger with Time Warner has stirred up political opposition and the American Congress is against it. At the same time, Brussels rushed to approve the monstrous acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer for €62.5 billion, before the US authorities have even said a word. This is an obvious backing by the European authorities for ‘their own’ Bayer, in order to facilitate and possibly instigate the clearance of the acquisition in the US.

It won’t be an exaggeration then to assert that in mainland Europe in general and in the Germanic sphere in particular, it’s almost a tradition the authorities of whatever level to consider themselves obliged to facilitate the life of big business interests.

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