Geopolitics

Germany To Help Israelis In Countries Where Israel Isn't Recognized

DIE WELT (Germany), TIMES OF ISRAEL (Israel)

Worldcrunch

BERLIN - What does a German tourist do in Bali when his wallet gets stolen? He goes right away for help to the German consulate in Denpasar, the capital of the Indonesian island. But an Israeli in the same bind has a problem: Indonesia does not recognize Israel as a state, so there is no Israeli embassy in the capital of Jakarta, and no consulate in Denpasar.

But soon, with an agreement set to be signed between the Israeli and German governments, an Israeli citizen in such a predicament in Indonesia -- and perhaps dozens of other countries that don't recognize Israel -- will be able go to the German consulate, reports Die Welt.

Israeli passport - soaproot

The German Ministry for Foreign Affairs confirmed to Die Welt that final negotations are taking place in Jeruslaem to seal an agreement to provide consular assistance to Israelis in countries where Israel is not a recognized state. "Details and modalities still have to be worked out," the source added.

The agreement would take effect in 2015, to mark 50 years since the establishment of German-Israeli bilateral relations, the Times of Israel reported.

German diplomats have helped Israelis out in emergencies before, for example in a deadly ferry accident in Tanzania in the summer of 2012. Future help could range from helping very sick people get home, to emergency services for tourists whose identity documents, money or cell phones have been stolen. Further areas of cooperation could include services relating to prisoners or the deceased.

There is no doubt that the Israelis need such consular help: more than 30 countries don't accept Israeli passports, including most Arab countries, and several in Africa and Asia.

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Future

How Facebook's Metaverse Could Undermine Europe's Tech Industry

Mark Zuckerberg boasted that his U.S. tech giant will begin a hiring spree in Europe to build his massive "Metaverse." Touted as an opportunity for Europe, the plans could poach precious tech talent from European tech companies.

Carl-Johan Karlsson

PARIS — Facebook's decision to recruit 10,000 people across the European Union might be branded as a vote of confidence in the strength of Europe's tech industry. But some European companies, which are already struggling to fill highly-skilled roles such as software developers and data scientists, are worried that the tech giant might make it even harder to find the workers that power their businesses.


Facebook's new European staff will work as part of its so-called "metaverse," the company's ambitious plan to venture beyond its current core business of connected social apps.

Shortage of French developers

Since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his more maximalist vision of Facebook in July, the concept of the metaverse has quickly become a buzzword in technology and business circles. Essentially a sci-fi inspired augmented reality world, the metaverse will allow people to interact through hardware like augmented reality (AR) glasses that Zuckerberg believes will eventually be as ubiquitous as smartphones.

The ambition to build what promoters claim will be the successor to the mobile internet comes with a significant investment, including multiplying the 10% of the company's 60,000-strong workforce currently based in Europe. The move has been welcomed by some as a potential booster for the continent's tech market.

Eight out of 10 French software companies say they can't find enough workers.

"In a number of regions in Europe there are clusters of pioneering technology companies. A stronger representation of Facebook can support this trend," German business daily Handelsblatt notes.

And yet the enthusiasm isn't shared by everyone. In France, company leaders worry that Facebook's five-year recruiting plan will dilute an already limited talent pool, with eight out of 10 French software companies already having difficulties finding staff, daily Les Echos reports.

The profile of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg displayed on a smartphone

Cris Faga / ZUMA

Teleworking changes the math

There is currently a shortage of nearly 10,000 computer engineers in France, with developers being the most sought-after, according to a recent study by Numéum, the main employers' consortium of the country's digital sector.

Facebook has said its recruiters will target nations including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands and Ireland, without mentioning specific numbers in any country. But the French software sector, which has so far managed to retain 59% of its workforce, fears that its highly skilled and relatively affordable young talent will be fertile recruiting grounds — especially since the pandemic has ushered in a new era of teleworking.

Facebook's plan to build its metaverse comes at a time when the nearly $1-trillion company faces its biggest scandal in years over damning internal documents leaked by a whistleblower, as well as mounting antitrust scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators. Still, as the sincerity of Zuckerberg's quest is underscored by news that the pivot might also come with a new company name, European software companies might want to start thinking about how to keep their talent in this universe.

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