Newsletter : September/December 2011

Season's Greetings wishes you all a happy Holiday Season and a wonderful New Year!

This year has focused on reaching out to the European Studies Community and supported interdisciplinary activities in the featured clusters of research activities. Check out our new expert video function for various contributions from scholars in Canada. If you are interested in sharing video clips about your research or comment on any Germany-related research topic we are happy to place it on our website.

Furthermore, we are still exploring new synergies with stakeholders in the German-European Studies community or funding opportunities to make the project sustainable into the future. If you would like to support our network, please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Beate Schmidtke, University of Victoria

Bonne année ! espère que vous avez passé de bonnes fêtes et vous souhaite une magnifique année 2012 !

Cette année a concentré ses efforts sur sa collaboration avec la communauté des Etudes Européennes et s’est fait le supporteur d’activités de recherches pluridisciplinaires. Pour accéder aux différentes contributions de chercheurs et experts canadiens, nous vous invitons à visionner leurs vidéos, disponibles en ligne. Il vous suffit de cliquer sur l’onglet expert videos. Si vous êtes vous-même intéressé et désirez partager des vidéos concernant votre propre travail de recherche ou bien des commentaires sur des sujets de recherche liés aux études germaniques, nous nous ferrons un plaisir de les publier sur notre site internet,

De plus, et en association avec nos différents partenaires de la communauté des études germano-européennes, nous explorons de nouvelles synergies, ainsi que de nouvelles opportunités de financement, qui permettraient à plus de pérennité dans le futur. Si vous souhaitez apporter votre soutien à notre réseau, veillez nous contacter par le biais de l’adresse électronique suivante : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Beate Schmidtke, Université de Victoria

Read more... - Newsletter March/July 2011

This spring and early summer the domestic political debate and electoral politicsin Germany have been dominated by one issue: the future of nuclear energy after the disaster of Fukushima. The first two contributions of this newsletter discuss the dramatic turn in the German government's nuclear policy and the degree to which Germany decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022 is unique in the European-global context. In the second part of this newsletter we continue our commitment to informing you about the past/ ongoing events and news from the German Studies Centres and CAUTG. You will also find the recent DAAD call for the new Theodor Berchem Prize for Outstanding Personalities in International Academic Cooperation.

Fukushima and Energy Politics, Willem Maas, York University

The Fukushima disaster was a classic focusing event, leading policymakers and wider publics to rethink the risk of nuclear accidents and the future of nuclear energy. Post-Fukushima opinion polls in 24 countries found 62% of respondents opposed nuclear power, making it even less popular than burning coal (Solar, wind, and hydroelectric power were the most popular methods of producing electricity).

 The German government's decision to close the country's remaining nuclear plants means energy may need to be imported, including from nuclear plants in neighbouring countries. At the time of the decision, roughly a quarter of German electricity production was nuclear, in line with the EU and US averages and higher than the 15% in Canada. According to Eurostat, Germany was the EU's second-largest producer of nuclear energy (at around 15% of the EU total), trailing France, which accounted for almost half of all nuclear energy produced in the Union. Over half of Europe's (and over 80% of the world's) electricity production comes from burning oil, coal, and gas. These are nonrenewable, produce greenhouse gases, and their prices have increased sharply. The two main alternative energy sources are hydroelectricity and wind. About 12% of EU energy production is hydro; important in Norway, Latvia, Austria, Croatia, and Sweden. Only about 4% of EU energy production comes from wind, with Denmark, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland important producers. If policymakers and publics want to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, nuclear power remains one way to meet the ever-increasing demand for energy.

One post-Fukushima forecast for uranium prices noted that China, India, Russia, South Korea, the UK, the US and other countries plan to build new nuclear plants, even as countries like Japan (which before the tsunami relied upon nuclear power for 30% of its energy needs) and Germany plan to shut theirs. Besides hydro, wind, and solar power, alternatives such as biomass, geothermal and other renewable energy sources should also grow.

Germany´s Atomausstieg, Edelgard Mahant, York University

The well-being of Europe´s economies depends on secure and reasonably priced energy, and most of that energy is imported.  To add to the conundrum, energy policy has become the subject of emotional debates. In Germany, the pleas of environmentalists who denounced carbon emissions and climate change were still ringing in the ears of political leaders when the Fukushima disaster opened a debate on nuclear power.

From North America it is hard to gauge the depth of European reaction to this disaster.  On June 12, 94% of Italians voted to end nuclear power, and that in spite of governmental advice to the contrary.  In Germany, Chancellor Merkel announced on May 30, that the government intended to phase out nuclear power by 2022; all the parties in the Bundestag jumped on the bandwagon. The SPD said, "That's what we wanted all along."  The Greens and the Left said, "We want it done sooner."  They hope to gain political advantage from embracing a popular cause (though German public opinion favours the Atomausstieg, the exit from nuclear power, by a "mere" 70%). In the meanwhile, the electricity generating industry is threatening to sue the government for billions in compensation, and the sixteen Ministerpräsidenten are all in favour of the new policy, as long as their governments do not have to pay for it.

Read more... Newsletter December 2010/ January 2011

A Happy New Year from wishes you an enjoyable and productive New Year! For the last three years funding from the DAAD and the University of Victoria has allowed to facilitate the exchange and collaboration among scholars from across Canada. In 2011 we would like to encourage our experts to take advantage of our revamped expert database and its host of information and mailing services. In addition, we have formed research clusters around key themes in German and European Studies and hope that this context will provide you with a productive context to network with experts from other parts of Canada. Furthermore, new funding opportunities will be explored this year to make the project sustainable into the future.

German-Canadian Trade Relations and Analysis of the Canadian Economy- Summary of a Lecture held at the University of Victoria by Hans-Guenter Bergen, President of the Victoria German Business Network 

In the world-wide financial crisis and economic slowdown triggered by the so-called Subprime Crisis in the USA, 2 countries were economically relatively stable and weathered this crisis better than others - Germany and Canada. Germany is not only today's fifth largest economy, for decades it has been one of the leading export nations. Even in 2009, when its foreign trades decreased by almost 17%, Germany showed a surplus of €134 billion. For 2010 and the succeeding years, an increase in foreign trade is expected, thus creating a higher export surplus.

For many years Canada, rated today's tenth largest economy, made a steady export surplus; almost US$ 46 billion in international trade in 2008. In 2009, because of an above-average export loss of 30 %, Canada for the first time showed an export deficit of US$ 4.9 billion which will continue. The deficit of the preceding year (2009) will continue in 2010 and Canada can expect a foreign trade surplus not before 2011.

Read more... - Newsletter September 2010

Events on German Unification across Canada- Selected contributions will be available on video clips

Canadian universities and German institutions in Canada organize events on the 20th Anniversary of the German Unification. Among those initiatives are the following: The Centre canadien d'études allemandes et européennes (CCEAE) together with Le Centre d'études et de recherches internationales (CÉRIUM), the Centre d'Excellence sur l'Union européenne (CEUE/EUCE) at Université de Montréal and the Goethe Institut Montréal organize an international conference "Le retour de l'histoire ? Répercussions européennes et internationales de la réunification allemande" with high-profile guests from Canada and Germany. The Department of German and Slavic Studies at University of Manitoba joins forces with the Prairie Political Science Association hosting an interdisciplinary session on the transformation of Germany since 1989. Under the title "Globalization & (Dis)unification: Europe's Berlin Republic turns 20" the Department of German at Queens University organizes an event on united Germany in an international perspective. And the project makes available a photo exhibiton entitled "From Peaceful Revolution to German Unity".