News from Berlin and Germany: 30 January, 2021

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany


Compiled by Ana Ferreira



Berlin wants to set up its own vaccine production

In cooperation with the private pharmaceutical company Berlin-Chemie, Berlin wants to establish its own vaccine production. “Berlin is ready to help,” said Health Senator Dilek Kalayci (SPD) in the Berlin House of Representatives on Thursday. The health administration is in talks with the company in this regard. The company is willing to set up its own vaccine production in Berlin, Kalayci said. The necessary resources are available “to set up and quickly expand vaccine production”. According to the health senator, the company has both a suitable production hall and the necessary staff to produce vaccine. Source: nd


Poor despite work

The corona pandemic and related policies do not affect everyone in Germany equally. A study from the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) concludes that “(…) lower real wages is emerging.” Also, according to the authors, one in six dependent employees is currently considered poor. This includes above all women, young professionals and an increasing number of older people. There is still a gap of about 20 per cent between the incomes of women and men. The wage gap in East and West Germany remained unchanged. The authors sum up that “wealth is often male,” and that the pandemic is widening the gap. Source: jW

Broad alliance demands more Corona emergency aid for the poor

In a joint appeal, top representatives of 36 national trade unions and associations demand a rapid increase of the standard rates in Hartz IV and basic pensions to at least 600 euros as well as immediate additional Corona aid for poor people. Never before has there been such a broad civil society alliance for a needs-based, poverty-proof adjustment of the standard rates to a concrete level. The signatories appeal to the federal government to finally take action in the field of poverty policy. The alliance also demands financing of the purchase of an internet-compatible computer for poor pupils and credit moratoria. Source: lokalkompass

Opposition to lifting the Debt Brake

Even if the pandemic were to be over soon and the economy recovers, Germany’s economic output at the end of 2021 will be significantly lower than at the end of 2019. Government spending, however, has increased – from short-time allowances to vaccinations. The question now is how to reconcile this fact with the Basic Law, which provides for a debt brake (Schuldenbremse). The Chancellor’s Office wants honesty and commitment. That is sympathetic – but not enough to modify the debt brake. It must be removed altogether. However, the hysterical reactions to Helge Braun’s (CDU) proposal show the debt brake is sacrosanct for many Germans. Source: taz

Corona: Germany forgets its refugees

There is eager debate about the damaging consequences of the lockdown for children and young people, the economy and culture, but what about refugees? They suffer a double burden: in addition to the fear of being deported, there is the fear of being infected by the virus and the psychological consequences of the lockdown. Memet Kilic (BZI) has therefore called for a summit meeting with representatives of the federal government, the states and NGOs to tackle the most urgent problems and challenges. Meanwhile, Wiebke Judith (Pro Asyl) points out that “collective deportations to various countries take place on a regular basis.” Source: dw

Life sentence for main killer of German politician

Stephan Ernst was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Walter L├╝bcke. Co-defendant Markus H. received a suspended sentence. Ernst had repeatedly confessed to the crime – but in three different versions. Most recently, he incriminated his co-defendant Markus H. On Thursday, the Higher Regional Court sentenced H. to a suspended sentence of one year and six months for violating the Weapons Act. Originally, he has been charged with accessory to murder. The crime is considered the first right-wing extremist murder of a politician in the Federal Republic. The trial took place under strict hygiene conditions because of the corona pandemic. Source: taz

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