News from Berlin and Germany, 10 March 2022

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany



Berlin: compulsory green roofs to come

The regulation is to come into force from 2024. The concept behind this is called Schwammstadt Berlin. But although the sponge city concept is becoming increasingly important in view of climate change, it is not yet the subject of the planned amendment to Berlin’s building code. This emerges the Senate Department for Urban Development answer to a question by FDP parliamentary group leader Sebastian Czaja. It is planned some exceptions such as for small roofs with a size of up to 30 square metres, which will be to be exempt from the greening obligation. Source: Berliner Zeitung.


“We are not Putin”

Since the war in Ukraine started, there have been increasing reports of hostility against Russian-Germans and people with a Soviet background. At the LMU University Hospital in Munich, for instance, a doctor refused to treat Russian patients as outpatients. The hospital distanced itself in a press release on Wednesday, explaining that it was “a single, personal opinion sent in a very emotional situation”. Due to the war, many also avoid speaking Russian in public – out of shame and anger about the attack, but also out of fear of exclusion. But one has to differentiate: “We are not Putin. Russia is not Putin either”. Source: taz.

Brandenburg environmental agency approves Tesla factory

The time has come: the Brandenburg State Environmental Agency on Friday has issued its approval for the Tesla factory in Grünheide, with numerous conditions. According to Environment Minister Axel Vogel (“die Grünen”), the operating permit can only be issued after the conditions have been met. The first Teslas made in Brandenburg are expected to roll off the assembly line at the end of March. The establishment of Tesla in Grünheide is the first large-scale project in Germany to combine climate neutrality with the creation of additional industrial jobs, but conservationists and residents fear environmental damage. They consider the water supply to be at risk. Source: rbb.

An army without a goal

The 24th of February 2022 marks the end of illusions. The drama in Ukraine has the potential to change the way Germans view the Bundeswehr. But it is by no means certain a turning point will occur. Skepticism towards the military is deeply rooted in the political self-image of the Federal Republic. By 1990/91, having reached the end of history, there seemed to be no need for soldiers anymore, with Germany since then taking part in foreign missions. Even now, with the country allocating more than 2 percent of the gross domestic product to defence, it remains questionable what will follow that. Source: taz.

Amazon workers stage 2-day strike in Germany

The trade union Ver.di calls on workers at six Amazon warehouses – in Rheinberg, Werne, Koblenz, Bad Hersfeld (two hubs) und Leipzig – to strike for better pay. The days, Monday and Tuesday, coincide with Equal Pay Day and International Women’s Day, at six Amazon warehouses in Germany. The union’s most important demand is for Amazon to formally recognize collective labor agreements in the retail and mail order sectors. In response to Ver.di’s demands, the online retail giant insisted even without a fixed wage agreement it was still a good employer. Germany is Amazon’s second-biggest market, just after the USA. Source: dw.

Operation Observation Cologne has not been a pleasant place for the AfD

When the party held a conference there in 2017, more than 10,000 people opposed the meeting of delegates. The city also meant the beginning of the end for the then-party leader Frauke Petry. And, now, although the AfD does not have to expect any major protests, their reception will be frosty. Since Tuesday, nothing less than the future of the party is at stake. The Cologne Administrative Court will decide on several lawsuits filed by the AfD against the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). Source: nd


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