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Abu Dhabi leading German press headlines

posted on 28/04/2004: 1193 views

Abu Dhabi was leading the headlines in the German news last week. Every single newspaper and TV station covered in high profile the breaking news that Abu Dhabi's state owned Mubadala (Offset) Development Company may acquire a stake in the German industrial giant Volkswagen. The German media were taken by surprise, but the often very harsh comments and editorials have been positive. 'The gift from the Orient' was the headline in the conservative 'Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.'

The German edition of the Financial Times titled 'Abu Dhabi plans stake in Volkswagen' on its front page, and the financial paper Handelsblatt titled 'Volkswagen gets Abu Dhabi on board as major stakeholder.' Nationwide newspaper Die Welt carried a magazine story by Abu Dhabi based correspondent Christiane Buck titled "Gulf goes Golf,” providing background about the Emirati deal with German's top carmaker.

The yellow press tabloid Bild with around 4 million copies lauded the move by a 'strategic partner' as protecting Volkswagen against hostile takeover bids. The reports came just before Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, began an official five-day visit to Germany on Monday. His visit is intended to foster political and economic relations between both the two countries. It is safe to say that the German media will be eager to report extensively on the visit of the highest ranking UAE government delegation that Germany has ever seen.

One major occasion will be the inauguration of the spectacular new UAE embassy in Berlin. Deutsche Welle TV, Germany's overseas television broadcaster already announced that it will focus its daily special news on the visit. For Deutsche Welle TV the UAE and particularly Abu Dhabi are becoming familiar ground. At the time of the UAE visit of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder last October, Deutsche Welle TV signed a cooperation agreement with Abu Dhabi TV.

The cooperation started successfully this year with an exchange of correspondents. Deutsche Welle TV now has a correspondent in Abu Dhabi covering the UAE and the Gulf region. For the upcoming UAE special, she explored the many close business ties between the two countries. One report pictured the second largest cargo hub worldwide of Lufthansa German Airlines, located at the International Airport of Sharjah. Another explored why so many Germans are flocking to Dubai to buy real estate.

Before the World Bank and IMF Meeting in Dubai last September, German media were mainly portraying the UAE as a tourist destination, showing the Dubai World Cup or more esoteric themes like camel races and speedboat competitions. After the top level finance meeting, many visiting journalists realised that there is much more to report, and subsequently many business stories about the emerging financial centre of Dubai have been published. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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