News from Berlin and Germany, 27th September 2023

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany



“Deutsche Wohnen & Co. Enteignen” announces second referendum

Two years ago, a referendum on the expropriation of large real estate companies in Berlin was successful – but it has not yet been implemented. The initiative “Exporpriate Deutsche Wohnen Co.” has announced a second referendum to socialize large landlords. This time the people of Berlin will vote on a socialisation law, as representatives of the initiative announced on Tuesday at a “public press conference” in front of the Rotes Rathaus. This should prevent the senate from delaying the implementation of the request, as the initiative has repeatedly accused the state politicians of doing. Source: rbb24

Cycling infrastructure: Berlin’s war on bikes begins

The CDU government in Berlin, which had used drivers’ rights as a wedge to win big outside the Ring in the last election, wants to reward their motorist voters. Mayor Kai Wegner (CDU) declared that he opposes bicycle lanes that slow down cars. The party’s bike-bashing has already prompted furious reactions. This summer, riders mounted huge protest rides during rush hour several times a week, many organised by the group Respect Cyclists. Following the outcry, the CDU relented a little. After reviewing 19 planned new bike paths, Transport Senator Manja Schreiner allowed 16 to go ahead. Source: exberliner

Fight against gentrification on Rigaer Straße

Whenever the media mentions Rigaer Straße, it is usually about the autonomous residents of the Rigaer Strasse 94 house project, the last officially “partially occupied” house in Friedrichshain. In the past there were many other occupations, house projects and left-wing bars there. But gentrification is spreading: last Friday, tenants from the house at Rigaer Straße 15, directly opposite Rigaer 94, protested against the sale and development of their two inner courtyards. According to the residents, these will soon be sold by their landlord and managing director of Mihu Immobilien GmbH, once they receive the building permit. A building application must be submitted by October 17th. For this reason, some of the residents are now mobilizing and seeking contact with neighborhood initiatives and other tenants. Source: nd-aktuell

Wegner wants a fence around Görlitzer Park by early 2024

Security in Görlitzer Park in Berlin has been discussed for years. Now the measures are to be implemented very quickly: a fence around Görli will be in place by the beginning of next year at the latest, according to Governing Mayor Wegner (CDU). The fence is supposed to be a temporary solution: “How long it is needed depends on how the situation in Görlitzer Park develops,” he declared. “If we close Görlitzer Park at night, we will deploy the police forces that are now in the park in the surrounding residential areas, for example in the Wrangelkiez.” Source: rbb24


AfD loses mayoral race in Nordhausen

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) has failed to unseat the incumbent mayor in a runoff election in the central industrial town of Nordhausen. AfD candidate Jörg Prophet won 45.1% of the vote in Sunday’s local polls, while independent candidate Kai Buchmann managed to get 54.9%. Buchmann, formerly associated with the Green party, said he was “very happy” with the result and that he would use the next six years in office to try to “get the best out of it for the city.” Recent polls put the AfD at around 21.5% support nationwide. In Thuringia, where Nordhausen is located, the party is polling at around 32%. Source: dw

Ifo index: “German economy is stalling”

The mood in the executive suites of German business hardly worsened in September. The Ifo Business Climate index only fell slightly by 0.1 points to 85.7 points compared to the previous month, for the fifth time in a row, as the Munich Ifo Institute announced last Monday. Although companies were still dissatisfied with current business, they were less skeptical about their prospects than before. “The German economy is treading water,” said Ifo President Clemens Fuest in an interview with DW. There is not one predominant problem, but a combination of many different causes for the poor economic development, such as less demand for German goods nationally and worldwide. Source: dw

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