News from Berlin and Germany, 27th July 2023

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Berlin: repeating Bundestag elections?

Berlin is preparing itself for a complete repeat of the last federal election. As state officer Stephan Bröchler said in a video published last Monday, the theme is being discussed within the districts. Last week, there was a hearing of the Federal Constitutional Court where the case for repeating the election is being heard, attended by Bröchler. He said that there were no indications as to when a judgment would be announced and in which direction this could go. The only thing that is certain is that the election must take place within 60 days of the verdict. That is 30 days fewer than when the elections to the Berlin House of Representatives were repeated almost six months ago. Source: rbb

Hundreds of retail and wholesale workers demand better wages

Several hundred employees from Berlin and Brandenburg in the wholesale and retail trades have demanded better wages at a warning strike rally in Berlin. The ver.di union called for an all-day warning strike in both sectors. “Despite the holiday season, participation is high,” said ver.di negotiator Conny Weißbach last Friday. Branches and warehouses of Kaufland, Rewe, Edeka, Ikea, HM and Karstadt Galeria Kaufhof were affected by the warning strike. The workers demanded 2.50 euros more per hour and a minimum wage of 13.50 euros per hour in retail for around 230,000 employees in both federal states. Source: rbb

Ella’s grave desecrated again

In 2021, the Iranian trans woman Ella set herself on fire on Berlin’s Alexanderplatz. Since then, her grave has repeatedly been desecrated. The Berlin state security team were called out due to another incident last Sunday: the grave was wrapped with fire brigade barrier tape and a warning symbol. The items were removed and secured as evidence. Ella’s grave in the central cemetery in Berlin-Friedrichsfelde has been the target for several transphobic hate crimes. On April 26, the police reported that several items had been placed there as vandalism. Source: welt

Wegner and Redmann distance themselves from Merz’s statements on the AfD

CDU party leader Friedrich Merz has met fierce criticism from within his own party over his statements about a possible joint action with the AfD. Berlin’s Governing Mayor Kai Wegner wrote on Twitter: “The AfD only knows division. Where should there be COOPERATION?” Brandenburg’s CDU leader Jan Redmann also contradicted Merz, and the Berlin state chairman of the Junge Union Harald Burkart also made a statement rejecting any cooperation between the CDU and the AfD. After this backlash, CDU leader Friedrich Merz rowed back. “There will be no cooperation between the CDU and the AfD at the local level,” Merz tweeted. Source: rbb


Germany plans 20 billion euros in subsidies for the microchip industry

The federal government is planning to distribute subsidies in a total of 20 billion euros to the semiconductor industry. This is intended to support the local technology sector and ensure the supply of critical components, the Bloomberg news agency reported. The subsidies are to be distributed to German and to international companies by 2027, and the money will come from the climate and transformation funds. The German federal government is currently discussing bundling up to 180 billion euros in the fund. According to the report, the details should be published in the coming week. Source: junge welt

Number of first-time asylum applications in Germany increases in 2023

According to a new report by the Federal Office for Migration, the number of asylum applications in Germany will increase sharply in 2023. Compared to the first half of 2022, there were 77.5 percent more initial applications. From January to June, 162,271 applications were made. Of these, 150,166 are initial applications. In the first half of 2022, there were 84,583. There has been the expected reaction to the report from the right focusing on and emphasising the numbers of migrants coming from racialised countires and other demographics. Police boss Heiko Teggatz described the situation as highly dramatic. Source: focus

Die Linke: a plan against a right-wing country

Martin Schirdewan, co-chairman of the Party die Linke, and Gregor Gysi, left-wing member of the Bundestag, call their new initiative a “plan for a fair country”. Higher taxes for millionaires and large companies “which had earned themselves a lot during the crisis” are intended to provide finance relief for low-income earners. This can be understood as the standard redistribution from top to bottom. The demands are not surprising but send a signal to all those who are now looking to the right because they feel left alone by the traffic light coalition governments’s failed crisis policy. Source: nd-aktuell

Tags: ,