News from Berlin and Germany, 23rd March 2023

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



“Berlin 2030 Climate Neutral”: what you need to know

On 26 March the referendum “Berlin 2030 Climate Neutral” will be held. If Berlin reaches the quorum, the state’s politicians will be obliged to do significantly more to reduce the capital’s greenhouse gas emissions. According to the initiators of the referendum, climate neutrality should be made possible by, among other things, expanding solar power capacities, improving the supply of green electricity via geothermal energy and biomass, and producing fewer emissions in transport. Voting for it is just the same as for regular elections. The day before the vote, the initiative Klimaneustart Berlin is calling for a large-scale demonstration. Source: tip-berlin.

35,000 expected for the climate referundum

About 35,000 people are expected to participate in a demonstration for the climate referendum at the Brandenburg Gate next Saturday. According to the alliance Klimaneustart Berlin, the group Element of Crime, the musician Annett Louisan and Arnim Teutoburg-Weiß and Thomas Götz from the Beatsteaks will perform. More than 30 professional orchestras from all over Germany have joined forces to play for climate and environmental protection at the demonstration. Speakers at the rally will include climate activist Luisa Neubauer (Fridays for Future). With the referendum on 26 March, the alliance wants to ensure that Berlin becomes climate neutral by 2030 and not by 2045 as previously planned. Source: morgenpost

“An underground expansion of this magnitude is out of all common sense”

Last Sunday, Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) has proposed a massive expansion of Berlin’s underground network. Transport researcher Andreas Knie from the Technical University of Berlin believes such a concept to be unrealistic. “The costs for this can hardly be quantified, we are certainly in the region of around 100 billion euros,” Knie said on Monday. “Apart from the immense costs, there are better ways to connect the outskirts with the city centre,” he added. The Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) and the Berlin Passengers’ Association (IGEB) have also spoken out clearly against a massive expansion of Berlin’s underground network. Source: rbb


Calls for minimum wage to be raised

Just a few months after the minimum wage was last raised in Germany, Sozialverband, a political advocacy organisation in Germany, is calling on Olaf Scholz’s government to increase the minimum wage to 14,13 euros per hour. It has now been half a year since the government raised the minimum hourly wage to 12 euros. Still, the Sozialverband points out at inflation and rising living costs, considering the recent increase is already insufficient for people to support themselves. The current minimum wage, 12 euros per hour since October 2022, is set to remain unchanged until 2024. Source: iamexpat

Fewer members at the Bundestag in the future

Germany has the second largest parliament in the world after China. However, after years of dispute, the Bundestag has passed an electoral reform law which will reduce the size of the parliament from 736 to 630 members. A bill by the governing traffic light coalition of the SPD, Greens and FDP achieved the required simple majority on Friday. 400 deputies voted in favour of the reform, according to Deputy Bundestag President Aydan Özoguz (SPD). 261 deputies voted against the bill and 23 parliamentarians abstained. The opposition CDU/CSU and the Left Party see themselves disadvantaged by the reform. Source: rbb

AfD judge removed from office

Berlin judge Birgit Malsack-Winkemann, who was detained during a major raid against the ‘Reich Citizens scene’, is no longer allowed to serve. The Berlin Judicial Service Court provisionally removed the former AfD member of the Bundestag from her duties during a summary proceedings last Thursday. She is suspected of belonging to a group around the far-right businessman and monarchist Heinrich Prinz Reuß, which is said to have planned a coup d’état and prepared an attack on the Bundestag for this purpose. She was earmarked as a future justice minister in the imagined shadow cabinet of the Reich Citizens. Source: taz

Germany falls in list of happiest countries

Despite many international crises at present, the global sense of happiness has remained remarkably constant. This is the conclusion reached by an independent team of experts in the latest World Happiness Report, which was published last Monday. Essential factors for the evaluation of life are access to education, social cohesion, and crime rate. The northernmost country in the EU seems to be doing everything right, with Finland at the top for the 6th year in a row. Germany, on the other hand has slipped considerably, falling two places compared to the previous report and this year lands in 16th place. Source: merkur

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