News from Berlin and Germany, 19th January 2023

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany



Berlin Greens want to invest in “heat transition”

Berlin’s Green Party wants to invest two billion euros in modernizing and expanding the heat supply for the city. The aim is to use the money to promote climate-neutral heat supply by the end of this legislative period (2026). For instance, the party plans on setting up a bonus program for the installation of heat pumps. They also plan to renovate buildings, making the state-owned housing associations accountable for their cost efficiency. However, such plans are waiting for the results of the February election. Source: rbb24


Pistorius “wants to make the Bundeswehr strong”

The future Federal Minister of Defense Boris Pistorius (SPD), to be appointed on Thursday, wants to involve the members of the Bundeswehr “very closely” in the modernization of the troops. On Tuesday in Hanover, the politician assured the public he would stand up for the soldiers. He said he was very happy to take on the office and was aware of its importance in difficult times. The tasks for the troops are enormous. He acknowledged that the resigning minister, Christine Lambrecht (SPD), had made a start on the reorganization of the Bundeswehr. Source: taz

Raid on journalists

Police in Freiburg searched “Radio Dreyeckland” (RDL) on Tuesday morning. According to a press release, several search warrants issued by the public prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe were executed. The background is a preliminary investigation on “suspicion of a violation of a ban on association.” The reason for the search was an article written under the abbreviation “FK” from August 2022 which linked to the “criminal organization” Linkunten Indymedia. After Fabian Kienert, RDL´s editor, outed himself as the author of the article and handed over the laptop used for it, the officers left. Kienert sees this as blackmail and an “unprecedented intrusion into editorial secrecy.” Source: nd

Lindner writes off East

On Tuesday, the Federal Fiscal Court (Bundesfinanzhof, BFH) heard the case of a married couple from Bavaria who consider the so-called solidarity surcharge unconstitutional and want to see it abolished. Originally, the federal government wanted to send a delegation to the appeal proceedings in Munich to defend the “Soli.” However, nothing came of it: the previous week, Lindner decided to keep his department out of the dispute – to the annoyance of the SPD and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, who want to stick to the levy. The outcome of the case is considered open. Source: jW

Minimum wage shows its effectiveness

Raising the statutory minimum wage to twelve euros was a key promise of the SPD in the last federal election. “People who work all day must be able to live from their work without additional support.” Previously, the trade unions and the Left Party fought for a significant increase in the statutory minimum wage. Before the rise, many warned that employers would reduce workers’ working hours because of it, which is why they would not necessarily earn more money in the end. According to a study from the Hans Böckler Foundation, employers did not react in this way for the most part. Source: nd

Greta Thunberg in Lützerath

Police briefly took Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg into custody during new protests near the evacuated West German village of Lützerath. Journalists watched as three police officers carried the 20-year-old away and set her down after a good 50 metres to conduct an identification check. The police confirmed Thunberg was part of a group that had moved towards the edge of the Garzweiler II open-cast lignite mine. After the operation, Thunberg and other activists were released. Coal-fired power plants played a major role in Germany’s failure to meet its own climate targets last year. Source: dw

Scholz: the future belongs to renewable energies alone

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) affirmed the compatibility of the green transformation with Germany’s preservation as a major industrial nation. “Whether you are a business leader or a climate activist, a security policy specialist or an investor – it is now crystal clear to all of us that the future belongs to renewable energies alone,” he said. By 2030, around 400 billion euros would be invested in renewables in Germany alone. The Chancellor also contradicted the impression the success of German industry in the past had largely depended on the purchase of cheap gas from Russia. Source: faz

Tags: ,