Former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder: married  to journalist turned politician Doris Schröder-Kopf for 17 years. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh.

Reports and cause of split ‘private matters’, says ex-chancellor’s office

Michael Healy-Rea: report said he hid ‘behind the veneer of a friendly/simple country yokel’ but was ‘unbeatable electorally’. It claimed he had a ‘vicious temper . . . he is not like his more collegial father in that regard.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Joan Burton defends Eamon Gilmore over FG claims he could lose Dáil seat

Andreas Lubitz: Prosecutors have declined to confirm or deny the pilot was in treatment for depression. Photograph: Getty Images

Investigators: Neither suicide note nor letter claiming responsibility found at apartment

Joan Burton said Irish people were sympathetic to Greece, reflected in their €350 million contribution to its EU/IMF programme, but that Ireland wanted to see more progress on tackling corruption and boosting tax revenue. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Ireland wants Greece to tackle corruption and boost tax revenue, says Tánaiste

Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz on his (now blocked) Facebook page in San Francisco, California. He barricaded himself in the cockpit and “intentionally” rammed the plane full speed into a mountain on Tuesday, ignoring the captain’s frantic pounding on the cockpit door and the screams of terror from passengers. Photograph: AP Photo

German police search bungalow in Rhineland town where Lubitz lived with his parents

This picture circulating on the internet and social networks allegedly shows Andreas Lubitz posing in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in California

Locals in Lubitz’s home town struggle to reconcile the man they knew with perpetrator of Germanwings tragedy

‘The case dismissed by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) as “frivolous” was, on Tuesday, dubbed a “case of great principle” by the ECJ.’ Photograph: Getty Images

‘Whistleblower Edward Snowden alleges that all this data eventually finds its way into the “Prism” servers of the National Securit(...)

Candles at the Joseph-Koenig-Gymnasium high school in Haltern am See on Wednesday. Students and teachers at a small-town German high school broke out in ears when they realised that 16 class-mates and two teachers were on board an ill-fated Germanwings aircraft. Photograph: Reuters

Aircraft appears to have been intact on impact with mountains after steep decent

Workers from the Delphi company hold photographs of one of their two colleagues who died in the Germanwings plane crash as they observe a minute silence at San Cugat del Valles in Barcelona. Photograph: EPA

Incomplete flight data and treacherous mountain conditions hamper inquiry

Rescue workers and gendarmerie arrive by helicopter as they continue their search operation near the site of the Germanwings plane crash in  the French Alps. Photograph:Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

‘It’s an unbelievable feeling to know now that I could have been on the plane’

Simone Menne, chief financial officer of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, speaks to employees following a minute’s silence for the victims of Tuesday’s plane crash, at the airline’s headquarters in Frankfurt. Photograph: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

Several Germanwings crews refuse to fly due to reported concern over aircraft safety

Tuesday’s oral hearing at the European Court of Justice was a referral from the Irish High Court on foot of a complaint filed by Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems against the Irish Data Protection Commissioner.

European Commission says US under no obligation to meet their privacy standards

European Court of Justice debates EU citizens’ right to privacy

Wreckage and debris on the French Alps after the crash of Germanwings flight 4U 9525. Photograph: EPA/Thomas Koehler

Germanwings aircraft experienced technical problems but was repaired and put back into service

Opera singer Oleg Bryjak. “With Oleg Bryjak we have lost a great interpreter and wonderful person”

Among first victims identified is Oleg Bryjak, a bass baritone at Deutsche Opera

Case was brough on foot of claims by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, that Facebook had breached EU law by passing his data to the US National Security Agency’s ‘Prism’ programme. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

European Court of Justice begins hearing arguments in landmark Facebook privacy case

Edward Snowden alleges the NSA operated a programme  obliging major technology companies such as Google and Facebook to feed in data they collect on their users. Photograph: Boris Roessler/EPA

European Court of Justice to hear arguments arising from High Court case here last year

German chancellor Angela Merkel  and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras in Berlin yesterday. Photograph: John Mac Dougall/AFP/Getty Images

The visit was a choreographed breather in the bailout crisis

German chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras shake hands  in Berlin yesterday. Photograph: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters

Balance must be struck between reform demands and will of voters, says Greek PM

Minister of State pays timely visit to fintech start-up hub on German visit

Ukraine’s prime minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk, in Brussels yesterday after meeting European Council president Donald Tusk, who led calls for EU member states to commit to extending sanctions against Russia. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Merkel says Russian sanctions to be lifted only if Minsk deal implemented

German comedian  Jan Böhmermann. He claimed responsibility on Wednesday for manipulating a video that allegedly shows Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis giving Germany the “middle finger”

‘We devastated Europe twice in a century but go nuts when somebody gives us the finger’

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis during a parliamentary session in Athens on Wednesday  during which prime minister Alexis Tsipras criticised EU lenders. Photograph: Yannis Kolesidis/EPA

Before two-day Brussels summit Alexis Tsipras demands lenders ‘stop unilateral actions’

Greece’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. Athens faces questions over its determination to tackle tax evasion by rich Greeks. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis denies giving Germany the finger during talk

German chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko following their talks in Berlin. Photograph: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

Merkel says Germany will ‘never forget’ illegal Crimea annexation

Revellers at the St Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday in Munich. Photograph: Ferdinand zur Lippe

An estimated 30,000 people turned out for a parade and party on Odeonsplatz

A Communion dress made from linen from Marion Baur and Hermann Glaser- Baur’s mill in Limavady, Co Derry

A couple restored a mill in Co Derry and also have a linen shop in Berlin

Social Democrat leader Sigmar Gabriel has already given up hope of beating Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany’s 2017 general election. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Social Democrats’ internal study warns of ‘grave image problem’

The Reeperbahn: Hamburg’s notorious party mile attracts some 20 million revellers a year, many of them beer drinkers. Photograph: Matias Boem

Residential revenge: Locals splash back against drunken revellers keen to take leak

Islamic State militants take sledgehammers to an ancient artifact in the Ninevah Museum in Mosul, Iraq. Photograph: Getty

Museum curators reveal that originals of statues from 7th century are still safe

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras prepares to address lawmakers on Tuesday during a parliamentary session on the creation of a committee for claiming second World War reparations. Photograph:  Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis

Tsipras cites Nazi war crimes in Greece to focus on the controversial issue of forced – and never repaid – ‘loans’ to Germany

“There’s no jobs benefit for a country in allowing an airline to overcharge people for a flight because they’re allowed to collect enough data to know who the passenger is and where they need to be on a given day,” said Max Schrems, an Austrian campaigner and part of the Lobbyplag group.

Industry proposals have found their way verbatim into MEPs’ tabled amendments

Minister for Data Protection Dara Murphy: will arrive in Brussels amid claims Ireland is pushing for changes to European privacy law  which Lobbyplag  says would benefit interests of private companies and public bodies over citizens. .

Privacy campaign group Lobbyplag puts Ireland one of top three offenders in pushing for changes to EU privacy law

Since 2012 EU institutions have worked to update 1995 data privacy laws. Following proposals from the European Commission and then the European Parliament, the member states have been negotiating their own proposals for three years behind closed doors in the European Council.

Leaked Brussels documents show State is just behind Germany and UK in watering down legislation

German Chancellor Angela Merkel with Prof Peter Bofinger (second left) at a presentation of a report by Germany’s “five wise men” who advise the federal government on economic affairs. Also pictured is Sigmar Gabriel (left), vice-chancellor and minister for economic affairs, and the chairman of the German Council of Economic Experts Christoph M Schmidt (right). Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

One of the ‘wise men’ who advise Merkel, the economist is a prophet in the desert

 European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker: said pooling military capability would demonstrate EU member states’ determination never to go to war against each other. Photograph: Sergio Perez/Reuters

European Commission president rules out Greek exit from euro zone

The German public is acutely conscious of data privacy issues, as this  carnival float with a  caricature representing Google and Facebook in a Duesseldorf parade highlights. Photograph: Ina Fassbender

Officials accused of allying with industry in secret while championing privacy in public

Yanis Varoufakis: Proposed new measures to unlock remaining bailout funds. Photograph: Kostas Tsironis/Bloomberg

Yanis Varoufakis submits plan to euro group with measures including online gambling

 Chancellor Angela Merkel does not approve of binding quotas for women Photo: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Bundestag has approved 30% requirement for non-executives

Data mining: It’s hard to think of anything you can do these days – online or off – that doesn’t leave a trail of data crumbs

European institutions are in the process of replacing existing data rules from 1995 to ensure citizens are better protected

Security cameras  at the partially-finished new headquarters  of Germany’s federal intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). The construction  has suffered major delays, including the theft of blueprints. Photograph:  Adam Berry/Getty Images

Suspicious leak at foreign intelligence agency BND, the city’s most high-security building site

Former SPD politician Sebastian Edathy  in a  regional court in Verden, Germany, yesterday.  Photograph: Julian Stratenschulte/AP

Sebastian Edathy urged to leave the party

Greece’s Finance Minister, Yianis Varoufakis. In an interview marathon over the weekend, both Greek and German finance ministers tried to put very different spins on last week’s deal in Brussels.

Varoufakis said he would ask for debt rescheduling talks with European institutions

German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble after making his speech, near German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in the Bundestag in Berlinon Friday. Photograph: EPA

Pre- and post-election remarks in Greece ‘hadn’t made things easier, to put it mildly’

Former nurse, only identified as Niels H, hides his face behind a folder next to his lawyer Ulrike Baumann at the local court in Oldenburg, Germany. Photograph: Carmen Jaspersen/AP Photo/dpa

Niels H, who injected patients with medicine to induce cardiac arrest, may have killed 200

Residents pay their respects to the victims of the shootings in Uhersky Brod. Photograph: Igor Sefr/EPA

Locals in Czech town left stunned by mass shooting, writes Derek Scally in Uhersky Brod

German deputy chancellor and economis minister Sigmar Gabriel delivers a speech at a conference in Berlin on Tuesday. The party he leads, the SPD, is stuck 15 opinion poll points behind its grand coalition partner, Angela Merkel’s CDU. Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

The German centre-left leader says it’s time to break the ‘downward spiral’ of austerity

A policeman stands guard near the site of a shooting at a restaurant in the city of Uhersky Brod, Czech Republic. Photograph: EPA

Shooter who killed eight people before turning gun on himself had no terrorist motive

A rally by the anti-Islam group Pegida  in Dresden, Germany. A new study has warned that Germany’s political centre is under attack from a ‘new irrationalism’. Photograph: Sebastian Kahnert/AFP/Getty Images

Researchers find that Germany’s political centre under attack from radical viewpoints

Free Liberals (FDP) chairman Christian Lindner gives flowers to Katja Suding, the party’s top candidate in the Hamburg state election, at a meeting in Berlin yesterday. Photograph: EPA/Tim Brakemeier

Christian Democratic Union officials are demanding the party challenge the euro-critical AfD with tougher line on security and mi(...)

Floral tributes are placed  where a Danish Jew was shot dead  at the weekend at a Jewish confirmation  in Copenhagen. Photograph: Bax Lindhardt/Scanpix Denmark/Reuters

Denmark’s 2,000 Jews have spent years getting ready for the worst

Danish prime minister Helle Thorning Schmidt arrives at the synagogue in Krystalgade in Copenhagen to show her sympathy. Photograph: Simon Laessoee/Scanpix/Reuters

Danish-born suspect (22) shot dead after two people killed in separate terror shootings

EU economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the decline in oil price, depreciating euro and recently-launched quantitative easing programme by the ECB would provide ‘a welcome shot in the arm for the EU economy’. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Bloc’s economy grows 0.3% between third and fourth quarters of 2014, data shows

FDP Hamburg leader Katja Suding (right) and two party colleagues did a photo shoot as ‘Linder’s Angels’ – a nod to luckless FDP leader Christian Lindner.

Ailing party’s campaign flirts with and fights against German sexist streak

Destroyed: looking over the skeletal city from the town hall in 1945. Photograph: Walter Hahn/AFP/Getty

Seventy years ago, near the end of the second World War, British planes dropped 1,400 tonnes of bombs on the German city. Bruno E (...)

European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker arrives for a European Summit of Heads of States and governments at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels. Photograph: EPA

SPD faces task of differentiating from CDU on Greece and euro reform

International Monetary Fund  managing director Christine Lagarde with Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis at an extraordinary euro zone finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels last night. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Ahead of EU summit German official says certain alterations may be acceptable

A Ukrainian serviceman jumps off a tank damaged during fighting with pro-Russian separatist forces outside Debaltseve, eastern Ukraine, on Tuesday. Photograph: Reuters/Alexei Chernyshev

Proximity to Russia breeds fear as focus on sanctions fails to inspire confidence

 Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko, German chancellor Angela Merkel and US vice-president Joe Biden prior to a Friday meeting of  the Munich Security Conference. Photograph: Matthias Schrader/AP

German chancellor to meet US president amid divisions on Ukraine military aid

Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko holds up Russian passports as proof that Russian troops are present in the conflict at talks in Munich at the weekend. Photograph: Tobias Hase

While Merkel has faith in sanctions, others see arms as more persuasive

Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko meets US vice president Joe Biden (right) in Munich on Saturday. Photograph: Reuters

Sergey Lavrov attacks US ‘obsession’ with global dominance and EU’s ‘connivance’ in region

Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko, German chancellor Angela Merkel and US vice president Joe Biden at the 51st Munich Security Conference. Photograph: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

German chancellor applauded at Munich security conference after meeting with Vladimir Putin

The heads of the new Greek government undertook a European tour this week, seeking support for a new approach to Greece’s financia(...)

German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen at the Munich security conference. Photograph: Andreas Gebert/EPA

German defence minister warns military support could be ‘fire accelerant’ in region

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble address a news conference following talks at the finance ministry on Thursday. Photograph: Reuters

Yanis Varoufakis requests bridging loan while he develops reform plan for country

German chancellor hints EU states remain resistant to renegotiated deal on debt

Hilde Michnia is suspected of forcing prisoners on an evacuation march in 1945

Hilde Michnia was a concentration camp guard. Her past is rearing its ugly head

Former Pegida spokeswoman Kathrin Oertel called for referendums at all levels of German politics and said:  “We think it is important that citizens have the right for a direct say in government so they are not ruled over their heads.” Photograph: Sebastian Kahnert/EPA

Co-founder says breakaway group Direct Democracy for Europe not extreme-right

Aldi-Süd has been consistently quicker to innovate and move with the times than Aldi-Nord. Photograph: Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images

With its founding brothers gone, the German giant faces an uncertain future

German chancellor Angela Merkel  in Cologne and Greece’s new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, in Athens. Dr Merkel told German newspapers she  did not “envisage” any fresh debt cut. Photographs: Louisa Gouliamaki, Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

Prime minister calms nerves as he vows not to act unilaterally on Greek debt pile

 Richard von Weizsäcker, the former German president and one of the most prominent German politicians of his generation, has died  at the age of 94. Photograph: Adam Berry/Getty Images

Angela Merkel describes death of Richard von Weizsäcker as a ‘great loss for Germany’

A bike-taxi in front of the Brandenburger Tor

Don’t expect to meet anybody new at night in this Germany city

Bernd Lucke, chairman of German anti-euro party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD): after months of private squabbles and public denunciations, a party conference this weekend in Bremen will see the start of a battle for the AfD’s soul.    Photograph/Fabian Bimmer/Reuters

Alternative für Deutschland hopes to stir up German fury at Greece

‘Whether Pegida  goes under or not is far less interesting than the effect it has had on German politics.’ Above, Kathrin Oertel, who  resigned as leader of the German anti-Islamist movement Pegida days after the departure of her predecessor Lutz Bachmann. Photograph: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

‘Merkel’s remarks on Islam were seen as an unacceptable attempt to pawn the party’s last unique selling point: the “C” in its Chr(...)

“The German economy has returned to growth regardless of geopolitical turbulence,” says  economics minister  Sigmar Gabriel . Photograph: EPA/Bernd von Jutrczenka

Figures show lower fuel prices and weaker euro are boosting disposable income

Kathrin Oertel has resigned as leader of the German anti-Islamist movement Pegida days after the departure of her predecessor Lutz Bachmann.  Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

Kathrin Oertel led German anti-Islamist group after founder Lutz Bachmann quit

Seventy years after the Red Army liberated the Nazi camp’s 7,000 remaining prisoners, the 300 elderly survivors supported each other on their walk down the railway line, past the notorious selection ramp, towards the former gas chambers and crematoriums. Photograph: Andrzej Grygiel/Poland Out

Former prisoners of death camp recall horrors and appeal for past to be learnt from

Germany’s  minister for finance, Wolfgang Schäuble: “Nobody is forcing anything on Greece. Our attitude to debt. . . remains unchanged.”

German reaction to Syriza’s election victory in Greece ranges from negative to jubilant

A Poster reading in German, “Good Night Ms. Merkel” is seen during  Alexis Tsipras’s speech after the general elections in Athens. The German government has said the election of Syriza to power does not erase Greece’s reform obligations. Photograph:  EPA/Orestis Panagioutou

Spokesman: Syriza victory does not change European, German attitudes towards reform

The campaigners are demanding that Facebook suspend data collection they say violate EU privacy law. Photograph: Karen Bleier/Getty

Case taken by Austrian privacy group goes into next round with first hearing in April

German chancellor Angela Merkel: underlined the link between further solidarity for Greece with Athens ‘continuing to show responsibility for itself’. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Analysis: chancellor’s view of economics now faces its antithesis

A German flag flies in front of the Bundesbank headquarters in Frankfurt. Photographer: Ralph Orlowski/Bloomberg

The ECB’s €1.14 trillion move has been a slap in the face for the German establishment

The infamous  inscription that reads ‘Work Makes Free’ at the main gate of the Auschwitz camp. Photograph:  Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

70 years ago Russian soldiers liberated the Nazi death camp in which a million people perished. Some of the last survivors tell of(...)

 Athens, Greece: polls indicate a left-wing party which wants to repudiate Greek loans will take power

Eurogroup chief says room to manoeuvre if new government honours its agreements

Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem pointed out that Greece required further assistance from the euro zone, which would always be linked to conditions

Jeroen Dijsselbloem says changes possible with the Athens adjustment programme

Germany’s federal economics minister, Sigmar Gabriel, was mildly critical of the ECB move. Photograph: EPA

Politicians and economists across the board condemn the ECB policy

Ukrainian servicemen fire their weapons during fighting with pro-Russian separatists in Pesky village, near Donetsk on Wednesday. Photograph: Oleksandr Klymenko/Reuters

Goverment forces withdraw from Donetsk airport as up to 13 die in morning bus attack

French author Michel Houellebecq during a presentation of his new novel ‘Soumission (Submission)’  in Cologne, Germany, on Monday. Photograph: EPA/Oliver Berg

French author Michel Houellebecq has paid tribute to murdered staff of ‘Charlie Hebdo’

Lutz Bachmann deleted his Facebook profile after Dresden’s Morgenpost newspaper contacted him about  posts allegedly showing him posing as Adolf Hitler.

Lutz Bachmann deleted Facebook profile after newspaper contacted him about posts

Supporters of the Pegida movement hold up German flags at one of their weekly gatherings  in early  January  in Dresden.  Photograph:  Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Senior official of Islam-critical group dismissed claims from critics of hostility to foreigners

‘These people are on the streets because they want greater involvement in decisions that affect them – before they are made.’ Above, supporters of anti-immigration movement Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (Pegida) hold flags during a demonstration in Dresden on January 12th. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

People are tired of German politicians talking down to them like impatient school-masters

Polish MP Anna Grodzka: she was the first transgender MP to be elected by Krakow’s voters four years ago. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

‘In many countries it would be a news brief but in Catholic Ireland it is headline news’ – Spiegel

This efficient, seemingly thorough trawl through old Stasi files reveals no Irish Kim Philbys – or, for that matter, little real E(...)

Indira Tasueva, a refugee from Chechnya, tends to her daughter Amina (3) at their temporary home at the Spreehotel refugee centre in Bautzen, Germany. Some 200 refugees, many from Syria and Tunisia, live there. The Spreehotel became a refugee home about six months ago, despite opposition from many Bautzen residents. Photograph: Seán Gallup/Getty Images

Germans frustrated at remote governance are marching with extremist groups

 German Chancellor Angela Merkel  told the Bundestag on Thursday she understood  some people’s concerns over globalisation, migration and crime had attracted them to Pegida, but  warned “other motives are at play” behind the scenes in the organisation, such as “prejudice . . . even hate”. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Chancellor insists she will not allow Germany to be divided

AfD leader Bernd Lucke. He sees a “grave conflict” on OMT between the European Court of Justice and Germany’s highest court in Karlsruhe. Photograph: EPA

Eyes on Luxembourg to see if court tries to incorporate some concerns of German colleagues in final ruling

The anti-Islam group Pegida march in Dresden following the Charlie Hebdo massacre. German chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will attend a vigil organised by German Muslim groups and reiterated that Islam is ‘a part of Germany’. Photograph: Arno Burgi/EPA

Angela Merkel says anti-Islam movement ‘reprehensible’ after Pegida march

Lutz Bachmann, co-leader of the anti-immigration group: “We’ve been laughed at and defamed . . . but Paris is just another reason to justify the existence of Pegida.” Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

At 12th Monday-night march, an estimated 20,000 people march with Pegida through Dresden

German justice minister Heiko Maas  takes part in a demonstration to protest against a rally by  right-wing populist movement Pegida. Photograph:  Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

Some 35,000 Dresdners turn out in protest against Pegida claim of creeping ‘Islamisation’

Supporters of the Pegida movement hold up German flags at another of their weekly gatherings in Dresden, Germany. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Protests by Pegida, a group focused on European patriotism, are attracting more followers each week

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