News from Berlin and Germany, 26th June 2024

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Berlin: several racist attacks in a short space of time

Several racist attacks have happened in Berlin in the space of just a few days. On Wednesday, a stranger punched a 13-year-old in the face on Eylauer Straße. According to the police, the boy had accidentally bumped into the man. The man left the scene directly after. On Friday, a 44-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man attacked a family in Wrangelstraße. The police took both into custody but released them again. On Saturday, a stranger threatened a family in a supermarket in Louis-Lewin-Straße. According to the police, the stranger insulted and threatened the 25-year-old father of the family, his 28-year-old wife and their one-year-old child. He managed to flee. Source: nd-akutell

Berlin social administration cuts funding for women centre

The Berlin Senate Social Administration has cut funding for an association that has been recognised for decades. The Frieda Women’s Centre had “repeatedly failed to fulfil its notification and verification obligations towards the Senate Administration over a long period of time, or only did so with considerable delay”, as announced by the spokesperson for the Social Welfare Department. The association did not comment on the matter when asked. In the past, it has faced accusations that leading members have made antisemitic and anti-Zionist statements and taken part in pro-Palestinian events. Source: msn

Berlin: major daycare centre strikes this week

The trade union ver.di has announced another daycare centre strike in Berlin next week. Teachers in around 280 municipal daycare centres have been called to strike on Thursday, 27 June. The union wants to further increase the pressure in the ongoing wage dispute. Today the situation in Berlin’s daycare centres will also be discussed by the Committee for Education, Youth and Family in the House of Representatives. In addition to the parents’ initiative “Unicorn seeks education”, a ver.di representative will also be speaking. In recent weeks, there have been repeated strikes at daycare centres in Berlin. Source: berliner-zeitung



Anti-Muslim attacks rose considerably in 2023

The number of anti-Muslim attacks, threats and discrimination more than doubled in 2023 compared to the previous year, according to a report from the Alliance against Islamophobia and Islamophobia (Claim). The document shows 1,926 attacks were registered nationwide in 2023 – an average of more than five per day. Claim director Rima Hanano sees the shift to the right by the democratic parties as partly responsible. Case numbers from regional reporting and advice centres as well as from the 2023 statistics on politically motivated crime were taken into account for the situation report. The number of unreported cases is expected to be quite high. Source: nd-aktuell

“We will defend the welfare state”

In an interview with the public-service broadcaster ARD, Chancelor Olaf Scholz (SPD) affirmed, despite the traffic-light coalition government´s struggle over the 2025 federal budget, to defend the welfare state. The federal budget currently has a shortfall of around 25 billion euros. Finance Minister and FDP leader Christian Lindner insists that the debt brake should be adhered to and thus demands significant cuts in the budgets of several ministries, especially the social affairs department. Scholz expects the budget to be passed next month. The Chancellor left open the question of whether an emergency situation could ultimately be declared due to the high costs of the billions in support for Ukraine. Source: tagesschau

Fewer people than expected live in Berlin and Germany

The population in Berlin as of 15 May 2022 of 3,596,999 people. This figure was announced by the Federal Statistical Office for the 2022 census. This is 128,651 fewer inhabitants than previously assumed – and therefore comes in way below the expectation. Not only in Berlin, but across Germany, the population has also grown less starkly in recent years than previously assumed. However, this was around 1.4 million fewer inhabitants than previously assumed on the basis of the official census. There were also above-average deviations for the foreign population. According to the 2022 census, around 10.9 million foreigners were living in Germany on 15 May. This is almost one million fewer than previously assumed. Source: rbb

Germany announces a new military service policy

The German government wants to increase voluntary military service and mandatory German army (Bundeswehr) participation. A document outlining that policy explains that while Germany will not reintroduce conscription – scrapped in 2011 – the country will adopt “a new model that primarily relies on voluntary participation, but also includes mandatory elements if necessary”. Under the new model, young men in Germany would be sent a questionnaire about their health and willingness to serve in the Bundeswehr. Women would also be sent the questionnaire, but would not be obliged to fill it out. It is still unclear whether the new rules will only apply to people with a German passport. Source: iamexpat

Most German federal states support introducing soft drink tax

Germany’s Minister for Food and Agriculture Cem Özdemir (Greens) wants to introduce a soft drink tax; nine federal states have now said they would support introducing it. Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony, Thuringia and Saarland have agreed on supporting a nationwide tax on drinks with a high sugar content. Such support is expected to give Özdemir’s policy proposal a boost. The federal minister has long wanted to implement legislation in Germany based on the UK government’s Soft Drinks Industry Levy or “sugar tax” introduced in 2018. Source: iamexpat

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