News from Berlin and Germany, 2 June 2022

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Faster acquisition of German

Next Monday, Senator of the Interior Iris Spranger, Berlin parliamentary group leader Raed Saleh, MP Sebahat Atli and the state spokesperson for integration Orkan Özdemir (all SPD) will visit the State Office for Immigration (Lea). A central naturalisation office is to be attached to it in 2023. Around 6,000 people are naturalised in Berlin every year. Many of them have waited for years for the certificate, in some cases it takes a year and a half just to get to the first counselling appointment. And the senate administration assumes that there is a large backlog of applications. Source: nd. 



The way is clear for a special fund for the Bundeswehr

The federal government has reached an agreement with the opposition CDU/CSU parliamentary group on a special fund of 100 billion euros for better equipping the Bundeswehr. The talks had been “successfully concluded”. Therefore, measures such as demanded by the Greens to protect against digital attacks will be financed from the federal budget. The coalition promised that the economic plan with the concrete procurement projects for the Bundeswehr would be decided upon with the establishment of the fund. With the anchoring in the Basic Law, the billion-euro fund will be exempt from the debt brake. Source: DW.

“I don’t trust the assurances”

In an interview with Bernd Drücke, a sociologist who works at the Archive for Alternative Writing (afas) in Duisburg, about the Census, he seems to be quite skeptical about data protection. This year, around 10.3 million people will be asked about their place of residence, occupation, age, education or marital status. Participation is compulsory for them; refusal to do so could result in fines of up to 5,000 euros. In addition, the number of dwellings and residential buildings in Germany is also determined. About 23 million owners are obliged to provide information. Source: nd.

How is the company Gorillas?

Gorillas has attracted a lot of criticism in recent months. First, its riders went on strike after many colleagues were unfairly dismissed, which led to workers attempting to form a workers´ council (“Betriebsrat”). To sabotage this attempt, management engaged in a few underhand maneuvers, even dressing up as riders, in order to infiltrate the picket line. After that, it still looks like Gorillas might become an “endangered species”. These layoffs follow information leaked to TechCrunch stating that Gorillas haemorrhages $50-75 million a month. With $300 million left in the bank, they might be running out of time, and even considering new strategies for its business. Source: ExBerliner.

Only a short pleasure

Preparations for the launch of the 9-Euro-Ticket are in full swing. So far, the railway has sold 2.7 million of the promotional tickets. This weekend might be the first test for the transport companies, because then the first rush on the local trains is expected. With the 9-Euro-Ticket introduced by Berlin’s traffic light coalition, passengers can use local buses and trains throughout Germany throughout the summer. This is intended to relieve commuters in view of high energy prices. However, any relief in view of the increased energy costs will probably not be permanent in local transport. Source: nd.

Largest real estate company announces significant rent increases

Germany’s largest real estate company Vonovia has announced significant rent increases. The alleged reason for this is the high inflation rates. Vonovia owns about 565,000 flats, most of them in Germany. The average rent rose to 7.40 euros per square metre in the first three months of this year – 3.1 per cent more than a year earlier. This is still well below the current inflation rate of just under eight per cent. However, the company mentioned it would continue to stick to its promise that rents in Berlin would not increase by more than 1 per cent on average for the next three years. Source: Zeit.

Union blocks voting

In a surprise move, the CDU/CSU blocked a vote in the responsible committees – budget and defence. CDU and CSU refused to approve the economic plan of the so-called Bundeswehr Special Fund. There were still some ambiguities to be cleared up, said the committee’s deputy chairman, Henning Otte. Also, the defence policy spokesman of the CDU/CSU, Florian Hahn, pointed out the corresponding procurement list for the 100 billion package had only been presented on last Tuesday afternoon. According to the plans, the air force is to get the largest share of the windfall, a total of almost 41 billion euros. Source: Tagesschau.

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