News from Berlin and Germany: 12th June 2021

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany


Compiled by Ana Ferreira



Former VW boss faces charges in Berlin

Martin Winterkorn stepped down as VW boss in 2015 after the scandal known as “Dieselgate”. Now, prosecutors in Berlin have brought charges against him, of giving false testimony to the German parliament about his knowledge of the carmaker’s emissions scandal. In a separate case, VW said on last Wednesday it was facing fresh charges in France. In February, the court dropped market manipulation charges against Winterkorn; however, he must still face accusations of fraud. Prosecutors chose to pursue the fraud charges, which carry a heavier possible sentence. Volkswagen has so far paid worldwide more than €30 billion in legal fees and recall charges. Source: dw


Left and centre lose in Saxony-Anhalt

The state election in Saxony-Anhalt was more than a damper for the parties to the left of the CDU/CSU. The SPD, the Left (die Linke) and the Greens (die Grünen) together got just 25 per cent. This is bitter for all those who hope that something could happen. The last major mood test before the Bundestag elections shows that the centre-left is currently failing to mobilise majorities. Yet left-wing issues are capable of winning majorities. Most people are critical of housing policy in Germany; seven out of ten were in favour of a rent cap in autumn 2020, for instance. Source: taz

“Such a tweet is a real honeypot for green-left agitators”.

Hans-Georg Maaßen, CDU candidate for the Bundestag, sent shock waves through the political discourse landscape with a tweet. He wrote: “Annalena Charlotte Alma Baerbock = ACAB = All Cops Are Bastards. Coincidence or cipher?” In this context, he referred to a report that Baerbock wanted security agencies to check for right-wing extremist groups. CDU Secretary-General Paul Ziemiak said: “This tweet is impossible, unspeakable.” He added: “This is also not our level, not my level.” Maaßen said he has not mean anything serious. Maaßen is running for a Bundestag mandate for the CDU in southern Thuringia. Source: Tagesspiegel

Another step towards the surveillance state

In a few months, Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer will retire from politics. But this does not mean that Seehofer is already a “lame duck” in politics. Rather, after long internal debates, he has now pushed through a bill in the coalition with the SPD. It concerns the future of the Federal Police. According to this, the police will soon be able to use state Trojans against people who have not yet committed a crime. These state Trojans are based on malware that is smuggled in via security holes. Secret services and the police therefore need open security holes in devices such as mobile phones. Source: nd

Abortion still illegal in Germany after 150 years

Paragraph 218 of the penal code is a sad record holder. It became part of (West) German law 150 years ago and feminists protest against that for just as long. It obliges women to give birth. Those who do not want to do so have to go through a legally imposed gauntlet to terminate a pregnancy. If the situation is (a bit) better in big German cities, in areas of the countryside, it might not have, for instance, a single female doctor for months who performed abortions up to the legally permissible twelfth week. Women often drive hundreds of kilometers to find a practice. Source: nd

Election campaign ignores the poor

They are invisible, people in poverty. In the election campaign, they want to change that. They are supported by the Protestant organisation Diakonie. Being poor means indeed constantly improvising. The standard rates in the basic income support system are too tight, so that any unforeseen expense can threaten one’s existence. Before the pandemic, food banks, day centres, cultural offers that can be taken advantage of with little or no money were important to have social contacts at all – in the pandemic, this has also fallen away. Diakonie said it would support those affected and promote their self-organisation and networking nationwide. Source: jW

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