Morning Briefing Pick a Job, Any Job

Germany's job market is the strongest it's been since 1991. Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen encounters Nazi memorabilia in her trip to Bundeswehr barracks.

It was a war of words last night during France’s final televised presidential debate. Right-wing populist Marine Le Pen accused independent candidate Emmanuel Macron of being a cold-hearted capitalist. In response, Macron disparaged Le Pen as an extremist and a liar. It’s about time that the candidates quiet down and let French voters speak with their ballots.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen paid a visit yesterday to an army battalion where a German soldier has been accused of planning a Neo-Nazi terror attack. In the lounge of the barracks she saw a barrage of memorabilia from the Wehrmacht – the former army of Nazi Germany. That is hardly how we like to picture the “citizens in uniform” of today’s Bundeswehr. The army’s top brass now have a lot to answer for. Ms. von der Leyen’s critique of the military’s “attitude problem” appears not only justified but long overdue.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has some loyal allies in German business who oppose a hard Brexit. German trade associations warn that without a free-trade agreement, Germany’s export economy would suffer a big hit. Some are pleading for leniency toward the Britain. Brexit-lite, anyone?

Steve Jobs lives – at least in spirit, through his successor Tim Cook. There seems to be no end to Apple’s incredible success story, with shares, cash balances and profits reaching obscene levels. In the second quarter, the iEverything inventors made some $52 billion in sales and $11 billion in profit. Maybe customers should start raising their voices. Forget revolution – the magic word is “rebate”.

Adidas also released impressive first quarter numbers today, outperforming analysts’ predictions. CEO Kasper Rorsted can currently do no wrong for shareholders. The company’s net profit increased by 30 percent and sales by 19 percent, with big growth in China and North America. Three stripes, you’re in.

From two feet to four wheels: March saw 47,263 newly registered Ford Fiestas in Europe while VW’s Golf came in second with 46,795, the first time it’s been knocked off top spot. We should be happy for the Americans – and make sure that US President Donald Trump is informed about the Fiesta’s European registration fiesta. Maybe that will cool his protectionist fever.

When it comes to employment, professionals with qualifications not only have a great future, but also a great present. German companies now have around 1 million job vacancies. The new head of the Federal Agency for Employment, Detlef Scheele, tells us that there’s no end in sight to Germany’s employment boom. So what are you waiting for? Swing by the boss’s office with a copy of Handelsblatt and raise the topic of, well, a raise. The pastures couldn't get any greener.

Picture of the Day

Pope Francis arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican.