News from Berlin and Germany, 13th December 2023

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Berlin builds fewer new flats than in 2022

Despite the high demand for housing in the capital, residential construction in Berlin is not gaining momentum. The target of creating 20,000 new flats per year will also be missed this year. As Building Senator Christian Gaebler (SPD) told the German Press Agency, the figure is expected to be around 16,000. “That is below last year’s figure of 17,310, but considering the difficult economic environment and also in comparison to the rest of Germany, we are still doing quite well,” said Gaebler. “The federal government also expects to miss its target of 400,000 flats,” he added. Source: rbb



State interior ministers propose punishing deniers of Israel’s right to exist

The interior ministers of the federal states in Germany have suggested that the public denial of Israel’s right to exist should be made a criminal offence. They asked Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) to examine whether the law should be adapted accordingly. The Conference of Interior Ministers (IMK) called on Faeser to ban other activities and associations, including there the Islamist Centre Hamburg. Further, the federal government will look at whether it is possible to revoke the German citizenship of people with multiple citizenships who had been convicted of forming terrorist organisations. Source: msn

Collective bargaining and a sobering result

The trade unions had praised the recent wage agreement to the skies. And yet there is a great deal of resentment. Right from the start of the negotiations, the unions were criticised for entering the negotiations with their minimum demand of 10.5 percent, but no less than 500 euros more pay. The critics warned that it was clear that less would come out in the end. And they were proved right: the results are well below the envisaged demands. The tax-free inflation premium may feel good in the bank account for a short time. But it cannot compensate for the real wage loss of recent years. Source: nd-aktuell

Spontaneous pro-Palestine demonstrations allowed

The Hamburg Administrative Court has lifted the general ban on spontaneous pro-Palestinian demonstrations. Previously, all unregistered gatherings in the Hanseatic city that were “related in content to support for Hamas or its attack on the territory of Israel (so-called pro-Palestinian gatherings) were prohibited. In the opinion of that court, however, the “current danger prognosis does not justify the general ban”. The “constitutional significance of freedom of assembly”, explains court press spokesman Maximilian Tallich, “requires that there is a real and concrete threat to public safety”. The police, as the assembly authority, accepted the court’s decision. They will “no longer apply” the general order with immediate effect. Source: zdf

Far-right group protests refugee housing plan

More than a thousand supporters of right-wing extremist group “Aufbruch Gera” held a protest in the eastern German city of Gera last Saturday against plans to build housing for refugees. The domestic intelligence agency for the eastern state of Thuringia classifies the group, whose name loosely translates to “awakening in Gera”, as a “suspected extremist case”. The agency’s chief Stephan Kramer described them as an “extremist core group that expresses itself in a particularly drastic manner.” The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party organised the vehicle convoy, MDR reported. The party had previously distanced itself from Aufbruch Gera. Source: dw

Chemnitz riot trial starts

The victims have been waiting five years. After 2018 right-wing extremist riots in Chemnitz, the trial against the alleged perpetrators began on December 11. Seven defendants aged between 26 and 51 stand accused of causing bodily harm and disturbing the peace in 11 separate cases during the incidents of September 1, 2018. On that evening, following an event organised by the Alternative for Germany party (AfD), and the anti-Islam Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident (PEGIDA), the defendants are alleged to have engaged in violent confrontations with participants of a counterdemonstration, culminating at the death of a 35-year-old German-Cuban man. Source: dw

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