Ursula von der Leyen needs 375 votes for a majority in parliament, but is widely expected to get that. Photograph: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

Just to get the important local news out of the way first. Asked for the first time about Brexit and the backstop, European Commission president-in-w(...)

The durability of the Paris-Berlin motor, led by President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel, was the most striking thing about the list of nominees agreed by EU leaders for five key positions in the institutions. Photograph: Franck Robichon/EPA

Football, Gary Lineker said, is a simple game: 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and, at the end, the Germans always win. This week, we were reminded(...)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Ankara says Berlin needs to improve its attitude towards Turkey. Photograph:  Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty

Germany began on Sunday to pull its troops out of a Turkish air base where they have supported international operations against Islamic State followin(...)