News from Berlin and Germany, 15th September 2022

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



More than 3,800 students waiting for a place in in Berlin

In no other federal state there are so few available places in student halls of residence as in Berlin. The Senate promised to create more affordable housing. But three weeks before the semester starts, rooms in shared flats are rare – and very expensive. The Studierendenwerk Berlin, which offers halls of residence, has a very long waiting list: this year, more than 3,800 students are on it, and the number is rising. Those in the queue are likely to get a place there… in two to three semesters. Also, because of rising energy costs, the Studierendenwerk recently announced it would increase the rents in its halls of residence. Source: rbb

Day care centre: additional fees and child separation

700 euros in extra fees in a private day-care provider in Berlin-Lichterfelde – and if you can’t pay, your child must go into an extra group, bringing its own food and not having age-appropriate toys. This was confirmed by the Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family. According to the senate administration, the Berlin day-care centre supervisor has already made an unannounced visit to the facility in Drakestraße on Tuesday and sought talks with the management. The education administration by the Senate threatens to withdraw the operating licence if the situation does not change. Source: rbb

Berlin police officer allegedly racially insulted woman on duty

A couple from Berlin reported a police officer after an operation in their home because he allegedly made racist insults to the wife. According to the report, the police came to the woman’s flat because she was confronted with a threat. Her husband, against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for fraudulent payment of benefits, was also there. After his arrest, the threat assessment was carried out. During the operation, one of the police officers allegedly said in a condescending manner the woman should return to her home country. The couple submitted a video documenting the insult. Source; Spiegel



Energy prices – Redistribution from the bottom to the top

Energy prices continue to explode. But the federal government is sticking to its gas levy, which means that citizens will have to fork out even more money. This redistribution from the bottom to the top orchestrated by the federal government is in no way alleviated by the “third relief package” presented this week. Christoph Butterwegge, a researcher about poverty, complains the package is a “poking around at symptoms”, but does not solve any problems. Furthermore, according to a study by the Bertelsmann Foundation recently published, three out of four adults agree with the statement the state should “ensure a reduction in the difference between rich and poor”. Source: jW

Germany’s green card plans

Germany wants to make it easier for non-EU citizens to enter the country and combat the shortage of skilled workers: with a green card variant, the so-called “opportunity card”. The German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH) estimated that Germany lacks about 250,000 skilled craftsmen. To get that card, the skilled workers must meet at least three of four criteria: a) university degree or vocational qualification; b) at least 3 years of professional experience; c) language skills or previous residency in Germany; and d) age below 35 years. Those conditions are though criticized by experts, not to mention some challenges to be faced such as the German bureaucracy. Source: DW

Municipalities warn of blackouts

The German Association of Towns and Municipalities warned of widespread power cuts in Germany because of the energy crisis. “There is a danger of a blackout,” mentioned Chief Executive Gerd Landsberg. On the other hand, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) assured at the weekend about the energy crisis: “We have prepared ourselves.” A power grid stress test by the federal government recently concluded: “hourly crisis situations in the power system are very unlikely in winter 22/23, but currently cannot be completely ruled out”. Still, experts reaffirm the German power grid to be well prepared. Source: taz

Brandenburg Greens call SPD position on nine-euro ticket a ‘mistake’

As part of the latest relief package, the federal government is seeking a successor to the nine-euro ticket for 49 to 69 euros per month. Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) had held out the prospect of a temporary, regional successor offer. She is planning a bridging solution from October to December 2022 for the capital until a nationwide ticket arrives. The Brandenburg state government has so far rejected a transitional solution, affirming it has less money than the federal capital. The passenger association IGEB criticised the attitude of the Brandenburg state government. Source: rbb

Fridays for Future calls for 100 billion euros for energy transition

The climate movement Fridays for Future is calling for a special fund of 100 billion euros to accelerate the phasing out of fossil fuels. The sum could be raised through a combination of excess profits taxes and a relaxation of the debt brake, spokesperson Luisa Neubauer said. The roughly 65 billion euros in subsidies for fossil fuels could also be used for this purpose. The movement is also calling again for a global climate strike on 23 September. “The is a direct consequence of a policy that has refused for too long to establish true energy independence based on renewable energies,” Neubauer said. Source: Berliner Zeitung

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