Sunday, June 30, 2013

'Muricans Y U Help SPD?

That is actually the wrong question, but one that needs an answer nonetheless. Merkel has been such a loyal servant of the USA in fact she would have gone to Iraq with you if she had had the chance back then, and now this? the US is spying on us just as much as on Iran, and calling us third class partners, according to Spiegel. This just might impact the election result in September, since Merkel and Interior minister Friedrich did not handle the initial revelations well a few weeks ago. We'll see, but the SPD would have to act like it were election campaign time for once.

The right question is: why is the US spying on us more than in any other European country? The terrorism nonsense is just that, and some Americans are actually aware that Hitler died a while ago, and since then we have played nice with our tanks. So is the NSA conducting industry espionage? That would at least make more sense than finding out every single day that Germans kinda liked the US until this weekend.

The comments seem divided between "good, that we have a big brother watching over us *snark*" -> "the US is no friend", and "third class? Fuck off 'Muricans. We need new friends." Guess it is time to spy some more on the German government to find out if Merkel is happy to share all her secrets with the NSA. Last time a Bundeskanzler was betrayed by a friend who abused his trust to spy on him, he had the common decency to resign.

It will be a few interesting weeks. The timing could not have been better. Since, Merkel time and time again has shown that she follows public opinion, this just might have actual consequences. There was no way at all that the SPD could win the election in September until today. Merkel knows that she cannot side with the US on this and that the population expects at least a strong message. Therefore she cannot tolerate this and since Friedrich went out on a limb by calling critics of PRISM "anti-American" and "naive" my guess is that he is now more of a liability than anything else, and she gets rid of those fast.

I just hope this brakes the neck of the pseudo-liberal FDP, who have given up any interest in freedom other than "economic freedom", a long time ago. That would be the best that can come from this.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

EU Terrorists

We all know that a) PRISM only targets terrorists and b) you are one if you have something to hide. As it turns out, according to Spiegel, the EU are a bunch of terrorists that want to keep their secret plots for themselves. The NSA is, of course, acting only within the law of the USA, and would never spy on allies, if they didn't have good reason to believe that this would prevent the next attack. We know that PRISM has already prevented 50 plots. Let me emphasise that again: exactly 50 terrorist attacks have been prevented, and unlike the 7 billion the Irish bankers wanted, that isn't a number that was picked out of somebody's arse.

German Minister of the Interior Friedrich called critics of the program "naive" and "anti-American". In an interview with Welt am Sonntag he also said that he has no reason to believe that the NSA is not adhering to law and order. Oh wait, was like sooo two weeks ago. Today his naive and anti-American-terrorist party colleague Manfred Weber (according to Spiegel he is also a "security expert"- I guess the skill ceiling isn't all that high in that area of expertise) complained about the NSA spying on EU citizens politicians because it is "unacceptable if their everyday lives a spied upon". Coalition partner Brok assessed that it is difficult to "negotiate if you have to be affraid that your position is wiretapped."Riiight! If that were what's happening we could end up buying drones for hundreds of millions that are not allowed to fly in European airspace, or something.

My position is that bugging EU officials shows that the private sector is much more efficient than anything government does. It is obviously a waste of time to spy on these people. The decision finding process within the EU is totally randomized. What does it help to know that the insight, that structural reforms solve every problem, was developed by banging one's head against a wall for an hour, which also led to the believe "Americans: FRIENDS!"?

Merkel, you will most likely be reelected please, please, please choose ministers that don't say stuff that is stupid when they say it and becomes utterly ridiculous two weeks afterwards. Also, you might want to get rid of the person that said:

The internet is for us all new land
 And went on to explain that it is about a balance of security interests and - I kid you not - "easygoingness". Oh hmmm wait, that was Merkel herself. Well, I guess that the lightheartedness of EU officials is over, which is good, since perhaps their next plot to destroy the lives of even more citizens in Europe, can be stopped with the help of our "American friends".

Friday, June 28, 2013

CO2 Regulation - the Role of "Super-Credits"

The German government is responsible for blocking the vote on EU regulation aiming to reduce CO2 emissions of cars. The plan was to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced on average by new automobiles from 130 g (CO2) per kilometer to 95 g/km in 2020. The primary reason for this decision was that Merkel did not agree with the plan of how to implement the so called "super-credits" (SC) - a scheme to allow for zero (and very low) emission cars to be counted twice until the year 2020. By 2023 the current plan gets rid of SC. Merkel wants higher and longer lasting SC. The decision of the German government  to prevent this new regulation of coming to effect is absolutely correct (probably the first time I wholeheartedly agree with Merkel).

There is not much potential left to make conventional engines more efficient, and the closer we get to the optimum the more expensive innovation becomes, and the less progress it yields. Currently, there is, because of regulation, a worldwide trend to hybrids which have a much higher potential of reducing fuel consumption in the NEDC test cycle than in real life. I would say that a realistic goal for the current mix of petrol and diesel cars will be about 130 g(CO2)/km (120 g(CO2)/km for hybrids) on average by 2020. To reach the 95 g (CO2)/km there is no way around zero emission vehicles.

Especially BMW and Daimler would have been affected by the new regulation, since they produce mostly "premium" aka large, powerful, and expensive vehicles. AUDI, being a brand of VW, would not have had such problems since the average emissions are measured over the whole company fleet of produced cars.

This policy is trying to get rid of SUVs of course it is supported by the German green party - unthinkingly, as always. Party whip Künast called Merkels action "torpedoing" and "smashing" the compromise. It is actually really sad that these people are unable to think straight then it comes to the automotive industry, since higher and longer lasting SC in Europe would support the development of electric cars, and additionally companies would have incentives to make them cheaper to support larger vehicles. BMW and Daimler would most likely even accept some losses on electric cars, since that would allow them to sell more premium vehicles like the X6 or the GLK, while still being able to remain within the new regulation. The current plan is especially wrongheaded since the companies would be able to sell these cars in other countries. It would not make sense to increase capacity in Europe, so production will be reduced in Europe and overall the worldwide emissions would not be reduced significantly.
Let's see what effect SC would have on a car producer: our company produces 100 cars - 90 of which are conventional vehicles with an average emission of 130 g/km and 10 are zero emission vehicles. So the calculation for SC of 2 would be (130 g/km x 90 cars + 0 x 10 cars)/ (90 cars + 10 x 2 zero emission cars). The company would therefore have a current average of around 106 g/km. To achieve the goal of 95 g/km our firm could either produce 70 % more electric vehicles or by increasing the price of their conventional cars and increase the waiting time for European customers so they only sell 56 instead of 90. Increasing the SC to 3 would bring our company down to 97.5 g/km so they would only have to try to increase the sales by 10 %. Assuming the proposal numbers for 2023 our company would have to more than triple the electric car production.

Of course, we currently do not know how well electric cars will be received. In my above example I assume a little over 10 % . That would be a great success. Super credits have the potential to increase the production capacity of zero emission vehicles, and also give companies an incentive to accept lower profit margins on these, therefore Merkel was right to stop the current proposal. By 2023 we will be only seeing the second generation of zero emission vehicles from large companies, it is unrealistic to assume that they will make up over 30 % of the total production by then, and it would only be reasonable to expect that in 10 years the laws of physics still apply, so 95 g(CO2)/km can only be achieved through super credits. Of course, it will not be real 95 g(CO2) /km, but the proposal is not based in reality either. It is just not possible to get to that number in ten years. I really like BMW's i3 please give it an actual chance.

Krugman commented a few days ago on Obama's environmental policy: "Well, ask yourself first how, exactly, pollution regulations are supposed to destroy jobs." Well, Professor if one decides to get rid of larger cars altogether with not giving any way out while other countries like the USA and China actually do offer the possibility to support SUVs and large luxory sedans via zero emission vehicles, then you will endanger jobs in Germany. So the EU is again an example of awful - this time - environmental policy with an actual potential to destroy jobs in Europe. Now to be fair Krugman was talking about the US, who do have a decent policy when it comes to electric cars. Please, EU do the right thing for once, and implement higher super credits over a longer time frame.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

European Car Sales in May

The passenger car sales in Europe, which seemed to improve in April (mostly due to the early easter), have "reached" (down 5.9 % yoy) the "lowest level recorded for a month of May since 1993", according to ACEA. Every major market in Europe was down compared to last year, except for Great Britain, were car sales increased by 11 %. Not that this will help the country, since they do not have an actual car industry (safe for German owned brands which are for the most part also designed in Germany) of their own anymore thanks to it being structurally reformed away by neo-liberal geniuses.

So why was Germany hit so hard? Private car registrations for Golf/Jetta, the best selling car in Germany, increased by 33 % compared to last year. So consumers are willing to to make large investments, again. Companies aren't though, here Golf/Jetta registrations fell by over 23 %, overall 20 881  (down 5.8 % yoy) were registered in Germany in May, 11,777 commercial and 9,104 private.  Of the eight "best-selling" cars bought by companies only two did not see double digit losses; four had decreases of over 20 %. Opel/Vauxhall Astra is in sixth place with over a third less sales than last year. Only the BMW 1 series, which came in ninth place, was registered 21 % more often, and the tenth placed Audi A3 saw a tiny 0.2 % increase.

Still some might claim that the awful numbers were due to the "Abwrackprämie", a scheme to help the suffering automotive industry in 2009. The federal government paid € 2,500 to every person that brought his old car to the junkyard and bought a new one. A program similar to other programs in Europe. Of course as one can see above this is not the case, since demand of companies and not consumers is lacking.

What can be done about this situation? First we must be clear that this is a structural problem, also it is only a symptom of the euro crisis. The demand has been falling everywhere in Europe for such a long time now that schemes to prop up short terms sales will not be a solution. In 2009 such programs did make sense to help suppliers survive, but today unlike back then it is not a worldwide short term phenomenon. Car manufactuerers that are based in Europe but operate globally have not been hit that hard. BMW Group, for example, sold more cars in May than ever before. The companies that are affected the most are therefore PSA, Opel/Vauxhall, and Renault. The last is in better shape since they foresaw the trend to cheaper cars and their brand Dacia is doing fine. Opel is in my opinion utterly redundant. The GM brand almost did not survive the initial crisis and is still losing money for its parent corporation. My short term solution is that Opel needs to disappear. . Since European politicians are absolutely unwilling to do necessary steps to solve the crisis, reducing supply is the only thing that can be done right now. Germany should take the hit. Killing Opel is by no means an optimal solution. It is in fact no solution whatsoever, but it is the only way to avoid worsening of the crisis in France. 

The only real solution would be to end the mess in the eurozone, but our "leadership" is incapable of even doing the first real steps for us to return to growth and are still in a state of denial about the complete failure of their policies since 2008. But hey, after tons of "stress tests - that didn't. and new programs to reduce youth unemployment - that won't, we will now get a banking union - that isn't. Guess it is time to accept the new normal of being behind the curve at all times, so the new normal will be "structurally reforming" supply.

Friday, June 7, 2013

A Hunter is Switching His Prey

The German trade imbalances with the rest of the euro area are basically gone. The country exported commodities worth € 34.5 billion into other member states and the imports were also 34.5 billion in April according to destatis. This is mostly due to exports falling faster than imports (don't get fooled by the April numbers we had 2 work days more than last year January-April exports to euro area nations fell 2.0 % compared to last year while imports fell 0.7 %).  What probably not a lot of people had on their radar was that the overall trade imbalances of Germany not only remained unaffected, but actually increased a little compared to last year.
So, instead of preying on our neighbours (well, France is still in our crosshair -39,7 billion in 2012 don't go away in a few months) , we are now dependent on US citizens to keep on electing the kind of officials they have in this century, forever? And if the euro strengthens, are we going to see more "structural reforms" aka. beggar thy neighbour? Until the social safety net is totally gone?
We are becoming even more dependent on other countries. The gap between domestic and abroad new orders has been widening, and the lacking domestic demand should be worrying the government. It isn't though. What does one expect from a government, that wants 1.000.000 electric vehicles on German roads by 2020 and is unwilling to do anything whatsoever to make that possible.

Still, the discussion in German politics at the moment is, if increasing taxes or reducing spending is the bestest austerity (someone has to think about the next generation). Really, neither leech nor bleed guy offer an actual solution. No, both don't even understand that being utterly dependent on others buying our exports just isn't a stable system.

At least the development in the eurozone is somewhat acceptable, but I am unwilling to celebrate that German exports to those countries are falling faster than our imports.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


So the IMF did something what zerohedge called "admitt[ing] that not only is it an idiot (this was public knowledge) but also a liar." Wouldn't it be funny if the second paragraph in the report was in support of zerohedge's allegations? 

Here is an excerpt:

Real GDP growth  averaged 4 percent from 2000–07, higher than in all euro area countries save Ireland and Luxembourg. Although asset price inflation  and  household  indebtedness    remained   moderate, government  debt  mounted  rapidly.
Here is a picture of  rapidly mounting debt in that time frame. For some reason the IMF forgot to provide it. At least they are right about one year...

The competence of the troika is amazing:

Inflation  initially  overshot   the program  projection due to the indirect tax increases, but subsequently  came  down   as activity  weakened.

They forgot that significantly increasing the value added tax will be inflationary. Come on really? You were the ones enforcing the hike, so it might have been called for to think about the consequences of your own actions. That's just embarrassing. Of course, they got zero numbers right, and some others, as we all know, primarily unemployment and GDP, totally wrong. Still, there would not have been much thinking involved. It could have gone like this: if we increase the VAT of everything by let's say 2-4 %, and assume some price rigidity. What will happen?

In the end they ask themselves the wrong questions, since they even fail at their assumptions:

Structural reforms were clearly essential to restoring competitiveness.
NO. This should have been a question formulated like this: did structural reforms improve competitiveness? The answer is all over the report. No they did not. Look at paragraph 41 for example where the IMF hoped that a "boost in productivity" would follow structural reforms, that did not happen.  Read your own damn report. Paragraph by paragraph it is a demonstration that structural reforms delivered nothing but pain and suffering. No that is not quite right. It also shows that competitiveness (if there were only more firm level agreements, then everything would be fine and dandy wouldn't it?) was adversely affected. But hey at least the pensions are back on track so Greece does not have to worry anymore about a crisis that might  (IMF projections don't seem all that believable anymore) have happened  somewhere around 2060 [that' probably not the right tense, but you get the picture].

So what exactly has the troika achieved? It has helped tanking the Greek GDP by a staggering 20 %. The unemployment rate is unacceptable, and the debt still unsustainable, so another haircut is unavoidable. It has effectively worsened a already bad situation.

Learning German Neoliberal Edition

German is a difficult to learn, in my opinion, there are more exceptions than words that follow rules. But learning neoliberal (or ordo-liberal) speak is pretty simple. Anybody can do it. It is based on putting together random words in a way that does not make sense, plus adding in one the few actual vocables that exist in that language at any spot in the sentence where one wants it. Here is an example by Graf Lambsdorff:

Die Strohfeuer staatlicher Konjunkturprogramme bringen mittelfristig wenig bis nichts - außer weiter steigenden Schulden.
Translated it says: Straw fire stimulus= more debt = bad. That sentence is basically the whole mantra of neoliberal thinking in the crisis. But to be really good at it a few more sentences help:

Erhöhter Reformdruck ist dabei unerlässlich.
The word by word translation to this is "increased reform pressure is therefore essential" what it actually is, is an excuse for every bad outcome:
  • Youth unemployment increases? Acceptable since it increases reform pressure.
  • High risk premiums? Excellent sign of direct reform pressure.
  • Stagnating industrial production? Increased reform pressure is necessary.
At the same time, it also shows your moral high ground. Those lazy Southerners need pressure to get anything done. One more:

Und es geht nicht nur um Sparen, sondern vor allem um die Freisetzung des Potenzials unserer Volkswirtschaften durch Strukturreformen.

Structural reforms liberate the potential of economies... stuff.. yadayada. See?  We already have reached the point where you don't even have to try to make sense. You can, knowing the above two sentences, start uttering gibberish, that isn't based in reality. Your policies have lead to a worse long term performance than during the great depression? Potential! More?

Dass dieser Ansatz Früchte trägt, zeigt sich am Beispiel der hoch verschuldeten Mitgliedsländer Irland, Spanien und Portugal.
Portugal, Spain, Ireland -> SUCCESS of neoliberal thinking (I am not making that up!)

Auch Industrieproduktion und Exporte kommen wieder in Fahrt.

Do I even have to translate that? It is pretending that complete stagnation for 13 years (perhaps that is a bit unfair, they can only be made directly responsible for the aweful last 3 years) is positive since in Spain the first derivative is up (the decrease in industrial production has decreased HELL YEAH!), and Portugal saw the first positive month  yoy in one and a half years.
 So, let's recap. Remember the above sentences and you are just the following words away from becoming either a very well payed member of the European parliament or perhaps even Bundesbank president:
  • Strukturreform
  • Reformdruck
  • steigende Schulden
  • Privatwirtschaft
It doesn't matter if one knows any other words. The whole believe system is not based in reality, so nobody will look at You funny if you say something like

Kratzs drruff die Struckturreform krum. Moar Reformdruck zack steigende Schulden. Privatwirtschaft fritz gut.

because there is no great neoliberal thinker out there that makes any more sense than that. Today the ECB corrected the already bad outlook for the euro zone down form -0,5 % GDP "growth" to -0,6 %, the German new orders were abysmal, and just that day some FDP politician comes along and tells us about the "success" of the policy responsible for that. Thanks. Next up: the European Commission applauds itself for 13 years of stagnation stability in industrial production.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Blockupy - update

Very short update on the Blockupy demonstration this weekend: you know that something went very wrong when according to Frankfurter Rundschau the Frankfurt BFE officers  (evidence gathering and arrest unit) - the specialists usually handling arrests during protests - describe the behavior of their colleagues from other states the following way: "they came, punched and drove home - and we now have to deal with the trouble" and "they acted in violation of BFE directives."

Best Way to Write About Reinhart-Rogoff for a Neoliberal

So for a typical German VWLer (yes, in Germany macro is abbreviated in the three big economic disasters) believes that R-R have to be right somehow. The best way for them to talk about flawed research is shown in the Fazit-blog of one of the biggest German newspapers (FAZ), for which several of the paper's editors provide their insight.The defense is creative to say the least:
  • The average results of Herndon-Ash-Pollin aren't far off the median results of R-R, those were "preferred" by the authors, therefore the paper isn't all that flawed or something, Who cares about that math stuff.
  • The post avoids any discussion about causation. The word used is "Zusammenhang"; it does mean correlation but also connection, interrelationship, and link. The correct word would have been "Korrelation". Who cares about words and stuff. Probably those fools who als still believe that math is important.
  • The 90 % nonsense isn't mentioned anywhere in the post.
Well, OK  I do actually expect that VWLer compare averages and medians. Also, I am not at all surprised that they willfully use the wrong term, or that they do not once mention what the discussion is actually about. What has me mildly puzzled, though, is that there is another blog post by the name of "Zu viele Schulden machen arm"(to much debt makes [countries] poor), for it clearly shows that they assumed causation, used the 90 % nonsense as prove and did not care at all about the median and instead used R-R's averages (my translation):

Somewhere above this threshold [90 % debt to GDP] growth suffers and does so significantly.
The economy of the examined countries grew at least 3 % on average as long as the public debt remained under 90 % of GDP, but countries with phases of higher debt did on average not even reach the zero line and instead contracted.
Other researchers [no link provided, so I assume he means Limbaugh, Beck et. al.] soon found out that typically the debt grew before the growth slowed.

This was a cross post of a column in the Sunday FAZ (FAS) paper. My personal guess is that P. Welter, who wrote the blog post in defense of R-R, actually tries to get his colleague fired.

Perhaps, I should have a shot at becoming a FAZ editor. I can use flawed research, show any number of false results, quote mine somebody, pretend that I am doing Quality Journalism, and demand money from Google for the great service I provide to the society.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

First World Self-Defense

The German language is pretty messed up. For example, instead of the we use der/die/das male/female/neutral the, but the language doesn't really follow this rule. A table is male, a girl is neutral, and butter is female in the north and male in Bavaria. A word ending in -er or -or is usually male so the professor is der Professor and therefore male. Since, it is a job, we needed some solution for female professors. We use an -in at the end of basically every job description if we mean a woman. If we talk about both male and female persons, some use ProfessorInnen or Professor/innen or Professor*innen. Others like me think it is just a job description and we should just do it the English way and use Professor neutrally. The University Leipzig has chosen a different path, since the choice was either having feminists cry, or writing in a way that looks outright horrible, they will now use the female descriptor for everybody. Rather a totally pointless additional syllable than wasting time with this never ending discussion, seems to have been the thinking of the male professor who came up with this and for now nobody seems to be making a sad face(e: but some seem to be angry that the solution for a non-problem seems to be trolling).

According to Spiegel, gender expert for the European Commission, Prof. Dr. oec. Maier described this as an act of "self-defense"(of course what else - this makes so much sense since it was a male professor's idea). Because she does not "feel meant" if professor is used as a job description - she probably hates English. This whole nonsense is worse than the kilometer  vs. miles discussion. There might be a even better solution: let's just use abbreviations, since she obviously has no problem whatsoever with those being used without defining her as male or female. Since, it is kind of hard to just say Dr, we could use Dring (Dr.-Ing.) for engineers and Droec (Dr. oec.) for economists with the additional benefit that one can easily hear what the PhD is worth.

Blockupy Demo in Frankfurt

On Saturday a large protest against the failed austerity policy took place in Frankfurt. Even though the weather in Germany was pretty awful, 7.000 people marched through the City in what was a authorized protest. Sadly Hessonian police is not a fan of constitutional rights and stopped the protest after only 30 minutes. They encircled 900 protesters on no basis whatsoever - some were masked according to police which was the main reason for the action (apparently sun glasses seem to count) - and held them for nine hours. Police lied about the number of demonstrators (claiming 200-400 of actually 911) held for no reason. According to journalists there, they lied about violence of protesters. The whole operation was planned beforehand, to force the march away from the ECB. Again the route was authorized so the police had no right to interfere in what can in hindsight only be described as willful escalation on part of the executive branch.

The silly attempt to whitewash their own actions on Sunday failed miserably according to HR and ended in "disgrace" calls by journalists. Others called it an "orgy of violence". Journalists themselves were attacked by police officers during the march and claims that there was no other choice than to use pepper spray and batons were answered with "I think you must have been at a different event than me."

On Sunday Merkel's spokesperson Seibert tweeted that freedom of opinion and assembly are constitutional rights, but obviously only in Turkey. Why should the German government care about rights of German citizens, when it is so much easier to just point at somebody else?

According to Sueddeutsche 200 protesters and 21 police officers were injured possibly including officers injured. The police confiscated a total of 907 items including an unspecified number of sun glasses in what is quite frankly a successful attempt to make fools of themselves.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Günther Oettinger - archetypical EU official

Günther Oettinger, CDU polititian and Commissioner for Energy, last week complained about amongst other things that France isn't planning to weaken the weakest by increasing the retirement age and reforming the labor market to reduce labor costs. He also moaned about starry-eyed idealism (Gutmenschentum - "good human being-ness"). I don't care at all what he has to say, since he is the last person who should talk about others not saving enough. There is a reason why he is in his current job and that's what I want to talk about because I think it will show what is one of the main problems of the EU institutions in general.

Günther Oettinger became Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg in 2005. The Bundesland at that point had not seen a single Government without CDU participation since 1952. His (Mappus took over in 2010 when Oettinger got the Commissioner job) was the last CDU led government because in 2011 the Greens and the SPD won the election, making Baden-Württemberg the first state with a Green Minister-President. This was mostly due to Stuttgart 21, a plan to redesign the railway system around Stuttgart including a new underground central station for Baden-Württemberg's capital. In 2007 he agreed to the Bundesland paying € 950 million of the total project costs of € 2.8 billion. Today six years later € 6.8 billion seems to be a more realistic number with estimates ranging from € 5.3 billion to € 8.7 billion. Of course, Oettinger was aware that the original costs were nonsensical, he just believed that a more realistic price tag would be "difficult to communicate". He ordered that no more calculations should be made. 

Now, after a look at Oettingers track record as Minister-President who together with the even worse performance of Mappus, who followed for a little over a year, made possible what seemed extremely unlikely when he took over - his party losing power after ruling comfortably for more than half a century, let's look at why he has a problem with decent human beings(Gutmenschen). In the eulogy for the former Minister-President Filbinger Oettinger in 2007 he said:
Hans Filbinger was not a national socialist. To the contrary: he was an opponent of the NS-Regime. But he could not withdraw from the constraints of the regime like millions of others. [..] It needs to be noted that: there is no verdict by Hans Filbinger, which caused a person to lose his life. (he probably wanted to say that Filbinger never sentenced anybody to death)
Hans Filbinger joined the National Socialist German Students' League in 1933 and in 1937 the NSDAP itself. From 1943 onwards he was judge and prosecutor in the Kriegsmarine. The last of his four participitation in death sentences (two in each of his roles) was as prosecutor in January 1945 in this case for deserting.  On March 15th 1945 he personally gave the order to fire.

So after Oettinger talked blatant nonsense at the funeral of a typical "Mitläufer" (follower) - Filbinger was definitely part of the system and did in no way work against it and sueddeutsche rightly called him "bloodjudge". It took him several days to distance himself from his own words after decent people (Gutmenschen) including Merkel ripped the nonsense, he had said, to pieces. This basically should, in my opinion, have marked the end of his career. Of course, instead he went on to become EU Commissioner. In a leaked US cable this event was described thusly:
Chancellor Angela Merkel nominated Baden-Wuerttemberg (BW) Minister President Guenther Oettinger as EU Energy Commissioner primarily to remove an unloved lame duck from an important CDU bastion
The phrase lame duck is in my opinion a overly diplomatic description of his track record in Baden-Wurttemberg - but that's to be expected from a diplomatic corps even in internal documents. After the eulogy incident Sueddeutsche described him as "smart, but not the sharpest knife in the drawer", and that is what makes him an absolutely typical EU Commissioner in my book. It isn't that he lied about the cost of his most important project, or his defense of a typical NSDAP member and participant in crimes, it is his just not being good enough for a job as minister president, but being too good to get rid of all together, that makes him the EU official archetype.