News from Berlin and Germany, 24th April 2024

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Berlin rents increase by an average of 18.3%

A survey by the bank Berlin Hyp and brokerage company CBRE found rents in Berlin increased by 18.3% in 2023 compared to 2022. For new rental contracts landlords in Berlin were demanding an average of 13.60 euros cold rent (excluding the cost of utilities) per square metre. Neukölln and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg were the two neighbourhoods with the highest rent increases: over 23%. The report predicts that demand for housing in Berlin will only continue increasing in the coming years as more people move to the city. Source: iamexpat

Tesla plans to cut 400 jobs in Grünheide

The US car manufacturer Tesla wants to cut jobs worldwide. The provisional extent of the cuts at its only European plant, in Grünheide, Brandenburg, is now known. The factory is planning to cut 400 jobs, as announced by the company to rbb last Tuesday. Talks are currently underway with the works council. Tesla says it wants to avoid layoffs and has therefore launched a volunteer programme for employees who wish to leave the company. CEO Elon Musk announced two weeks ago that he wanted to cut ten per cent of the global workforce due to difficulties in selling e-cars. Source: rbb24


Compact and Free Saxony in the wake of the AfD

Almost 300 people came to the Sonneberg train station square in Thuringia on Saturday evening, where the right-wing extremist Compact magazine had promised a “folk festival” – with “Compact and AfD at your fingertips”. Petr Bystron – the AfD’s European candidate who is currently facing allegations of corruption – and Doris von Sayn-Wittgenstein had been announced as speakers. But the connections with the magazine appear closer than the party would have wanted them to look, as the Bundestag administration is investigating a possible donation. Meanwhile, the far-right Free Saxony party seeks to pull the AfD further to the right, and sociologist Johannes Kiess believes that joint majorities of the Free Saxons and the AfD are possible in individual municipalities. Source: tagesschau

More right-wing extremist cases reported at schools

Student representatives of the eastern German federal states are complaining about increasing right-wing extremism in schools. They claim that inhibitions are being eroded and that schools are often not sufficiently prepared for right-wing extremist incidents. The state student councils from Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia therefore called for decisive countermeasures in a joint declaration at the beginning of April. Among other things, they want the subjects of politics and social studies to be strengthened in order to impart more knowledge about the threats that right-wing extremism poses to democracy. Source: rbb24

What are the benefits of a motorway speed limit in Germany?

“Free citizens demand free travel” – with this slogan, the German Automobile Club (ADAC) protested in the 70s against the West German speed limit of 100 kilometres per hour. Although it was only in force for a few months due to the oil crisis, the outrage was huge. Various attempts to introduce a general speed limit have since failed. Currently, more than half of Germans are in favour of a speed limit. Among the benefits there is the fact the slower a car drives, the less fuel it consumes. The 2021 Climate Act, however, makes no mention of a speed limit. Source: dw

Cannabis ban planned at German railway stations

Adults in Germany have been allowed to smoke cannabis since April 1, but bans remain in zones around playgrounds and schools, for example. Deutsche Bahn wants to ban the consumption of cannabis at railway stations as well. The only exception is consumption for medical reasons, which is already permitted and will remain so. Information posters will be displayed at all railway stations nationwide starting as early as next week, and Deutsche Bahn intends to prosecute offences from June. Prior to this, railway employees will ask travellers to refrain from consuming cannabis with “friendly requests and instructions.” Source: dw

Höcke: far-right politician on trial

Björn Höcke, who leads the AfD in Thuringia, is being tried for saying words associated with the SA stormtroopers, who played a key role in the Nazis’ rise to power, at a 2021 rally. At a campaign event in the state of Saxony-Anhalt in May 2021, Höcke ended a speech with the slogan “Everything for our homeland, everything for Saxony-Anhalt, everything for Germany!” Prosecutors say he was aware that the phrase was banned for being associated with the Nazi Sturmabteilung. At another rally, in 2023, Höcke said: “Everything for…”, to which the audience replied: “Germany!” Source: bbc

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