From sanctions over Crimea to the retirement of a German skiing legend. Maria Wokurka provides a summary of the week in the Bottom Line for Pandeia.
Merkel is convinced there will be an intensification of sanctions
The heads of states and governments of the EU will decide further freezing of accounts and travel restrictions on Russian officials due to the Crimea crisis. The German chancellor Angela Merkel has already announced economic sanctions.
According to Tagesschau Online it is easier for US President Barack Obama to speak of sanctions against Russia. The Foreign Minister of Poland, Radoslaw Sikorski, is not surprised – referring to economic relations and business the EU faces higher stakes than the US. Furthermore, it is more complicated and complex to find an agreement on sanctions between the 28 member states. In other words, if the EU decides about sanctions there will always be compromise.
After the vote on Crimea the EU Foreign Ministers handed out entry embargoes and blocked accounts for about 20 Russian and Ukrainian politicians. This was the second of three levels of sanctions. Angela Merkel is convinced that there will be an intensification of the second level. She announced in the Federal Parliament: “We decided a second level two weeks ago and the heads of states and governments of the EU will decide about further sanctions of this level. Among these sanctions will be an extension of the list of responsible persons who will be affected by the travel restrictions and account blockings.”
Level three sanctions entail concrete economic sanctions against Russia. Merkel emphasizes that “the EU board is willed to apply sanctions of level three if the situation worsens.”
The economic sanctions could have serious consequences for Russia. Under discussion the halting of Russian gas supplies. This would create problems for those EU states reliant on Russian gas.
A further, unpredictable scenario will be if the Russian government responds to the sanctions with counter sanctions.
Ex Secretary of Education loses action
The German magazine Spiegel has demanded it is high time that German universities act and make sure that doctor’s degrees are only be temporarily awarded.
Around 25,000 doctors leave university every year. Only a trickle of them is seriously encouraged to work in the scientific and research area. Nine out of ten postgraduates turn their backs on the field of research. The reasons include the lack of alternative non-dissertation options and very often the hope for better career opportunities. Last year every fifth deputy of the German Federal Parliament owns the two letters “Dr.” in front of the first name.
The former Secretary of Education, Annette Schavan, started a career of science and wrote a dissertation with the title “The person and the conscience”. She is convinced that she belongs to the scientific community even though her entire career has been a political.
The prestige of being a doctor remains for the entire life and is part of the identity.
There is a proposal by a Professor of Economics to delete the doctor’s degree from the identity card or to only be allowed to take the article within the area of research and science. Manuel Theisen suggests the doctor’s degree should be temporarily limited. After ten years the right to have the title will be automatically extended unless evidence emerges that the author plagiarised. The positive arguments of this idea are: no new administrative act, no additional effort and expenditures for the universities – the plagiarism will be not be described but the academic honour will be questioned.
The end of an impressive career – German Olympic champion calls it quits
Rationality predominated: the German ski Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch will not continue her sports career.
The best German female skier has decided to end her career, after 13 years, as triple Olympic champion and double world champion. After winning Gold and Silver in Sochi this year Hoefl-Riesch has reached the peak of her career. Even though she will be missed in the future winter sports her fans are saying goodbye with a crying and a smiling face at the same time – it utterly is the best moment to stop.
Hoefl-Riesch suffered a number of injury problems throughout her career but was able to triumph at three Winter Olympics. She retires at the age of 29.