News from Berlin and Germany, 1st May 2024

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Berlin police say protests can only be held in German or English

After a pro-Palestine camp protest held by the group “Irish Bloc” outside the German parliament, police in Berlin have said certain protests in the capital city can only be conducted in German, English and, in some cases, Arabic, unless a police-assigned interpreter is present. Despite Irish being one of the EU’s 22 official languages, Berlin police have confirmed that the Gaelic language is forbidden at the protest camp. The Irish Bloc is among several pro-Palestine groups in Berlin which have been targeted recently. In late March, the “Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost” (“Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East”) received notice from a Berlin state run bank its account had been frozen. Source: iamexpat

Berlin transport senator Manja Schreiner resigns after PhD scandel

Berlin’s transport senator Manja Schreiner (CDU) is resigning. In a brief statement, the politician said the University of Rostock would revoke her doctorate. To prevent damage to the Berlin Senate, she had therefore asked the Governing Mayor Kai Wegner (CDU) for her dismissal. Schreiner emphasised she had not deliberately deceived or cheated at any point in her dissertation. As a private individual, she would therefore appeal against the decision. The Berlin mayor Kai Wegner (CDU) announced he would honour Schreiner’s request. It has not yet been decided who will take her place. Source: rbb

Deportation despite endangered child welfare

MP Ferat Koçak (the Left), a refugee policy expert, has criticised the deportation of a parent and a child with mental illness. Koçak affirms: “The child was just stable enough to attend school again. The deportation threatens to massively worsen the health situation of the child and parent again.” According to a statement from several aid organisations, both family members were “lured” to an appointment at the Berlin Immigration Office (LEA) and then deported to Moldova. Berlin’s interior senator Iris Spranger (SPD) told the interior committee that deportations are carried out only if all other legal means have been exhausted. Source: nd-aktuell



Germany will probably not say no

According to Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens), Germany will probably not vote against the abolition of important environmental rules for agricultural subsidies in the Council of EU member states. The last two years have “not always been harmonious” in the coalition government, “so I could imagine that we have different ideas on this issue”, said the politician to “taz”. The recent reform of EU agricultural subsidies on “compulsory fallow land” was, for nature conservationists, one of the few advances, which amount to around 55 billion euros per year. Source: taz

Reichsbürger trial: coup plan and rudimentary theories

They allegedly wanted nothing less than a coup d’état: the group of so-called “Reich Citizens” around Henry XIII Prince Reuss probably wanted to infiltrate the German Bundestag and arrest members of parliament. Particularly targeted were the Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), the Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) and the CDU leader Friedrich Merz. However, a nationwide raid on the suspected right-wing terrorist organisation “Patriotic Union” on 7 December 2022 was successful: 25 people were arrested, including Reuß. This week in Stuttgart begins the first of three trials against the group. Judgements in all trials are not expected until next year. Source: dw

Islamists call for caliphate at Hamburg demo

Over 1,000 people have protested in Hamburg against what they see as Islamophobic politics and media. The rally was secured by a large contingent of police. There were no incidents. Slogans such as “Caliphate is the solution” could be read on posters. The “Muslim Interactive” initiative disguises itself as a campaign to educate people about racism, however, it is one of the Islamist groups that are causing rifts to grow in the country. Following the demonstration, Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) called for “tough intervention” by the state at such events and praised the work of the Hamburg police. Source: zdf

Inflation rate stabilises

The inflation rate in Germany has been falling since December. In April at least, the trend has not reversed. According to initial figures from the Federal Statistical Office, inflation remained at 2.2 per cent. Things are returning to normal after the sometimes-drastic price rises of the past two years. It is relevant to note that, core inflation, which is considered by economists a more reliable measure because it excludes food and energy prices, had fluctuated a little more. In March, core inflation was 3.3 per cent, in April it is now likely to have been 3.0 per cent. Source: taz

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