News from Berlin and Germany, 30th August 2023

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany



Doctors in Berlin fear again about drug shortages in winter

Many doctors in Berlin fear that medicine could become scarce again in the coming autumn and winter. In a survey conducted by the Berlin Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KV) among 430 practices, 61 percent of the doctors surveyed stated that, in their opinion, the care during the next cold wave would not be sufficient. According to the head of the Berlin KV, Burkhard Ruppert, antibiotics, blood pressure medication, fever medication and painkillers as well as asthma medication and eye drops are to be particularly scarce. The Berlin health secretary Ellen Haussdörfer (SPD) said the Senate takes the current survey “very seriously.” Source: rbb24


Students start the new school year, but teacher shortage continues

The new school year begins for over 300,000 Brandenburg schoolchildren. There is an increase of 8,000 children and young people among them. The Ministry of Education announced last Thursday that a total of 1,380 trained educators and lateral entrants had been hired on a permanent basis. This means that around 460 full-time positions have not yet been filled. The Education Minister Steffen Freiberg (SPD) said the shortage of teachers remains an ongoing issue. A good half of the new teachers are 36 years or younger. 958 of the new teachers are women and 422 are men. Source: rbb24

Dual citizenship law passes through German cabinet

The German government voted on August 23 to pass the country’s new citizenship reforms, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) announced. It is expected that such reforms will ease the path to citizenship for non-Germans living and working in the federal republic. Faeser called the reform an “acknowledgement of a modern Germany” which is one of the “most important reform projects of the traffic-light coalition”. She also mentioned that the German government hopes the reforms would encourage long-term residents in Germany to stay and encourage new workers to come and feel welcomed. The bill is likely to be voted in the German Bundestag at the beginning of September. Source: iamexpat

German economy heading for recession

The German economy appears to be headed for a recession. The purchasing managers’ index for the entire private sector – i.e. industry and service providers – fell to 44.7 points from 48.5 points in July, the financial services provider S&P Global announced last Wednesday in its monthly survey of around 800 companies. It was the fourth decline in a row and the lowest value since May 2020, when the corona pandemic kept the economy stagnant. The service sector was decisive for the rapid decline. The service industry barometer fell below the growth threshold – to 47.3 points after 52.3 points in July. Source: faz

“Last generation”: Munich issues a partial ban

A general decree by the city of Munich on “preventive defense against danger” will prohibit future climate protests that take place on the routes used by emergency and rescue vehicles. This was announced by the city administration. Accordingly, protests that are not reported to the district administration department and in which participants stick to the road are prohibited. Violations can result in a fine of up to 3,000 euros. The reason for the decision: during climate protests last Friday in Munich, two emergency vehicles got stuck in the traffic jam caused by blockade actions. Source: br

Legalising weed in Germany

It’s finally happening. After years of discussion, Germany is moving forward with some sort of legalisation of cannabis. The government plans to have the new legislation by early 2024. Nevertheless, smoking in the presence of minors, or close to schools or playgrounds will not be allowed, among other prohibitions. Exberliner points out that the black market might go on being a reality. For instance, the USA has legalised weed to an even greater extent than Germany, but the black market there still represents 75% of sales. On the other hand, in Canada, where restrictions are especially light, only 4% of pot smokers acquire their weed from illegal sources. Source: exberliner

Bürgergeld raise

The standard rates of the citizens’ income (Bürgergeld) will increase on 1 January 2024, as announced by Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD). The monthly amount for a single adult will increase from 502 to 563 euros. According to Heil, the increase in the standard rates is due to the fact that, with the introduction of the citizens’ income, the calculation method was changed in such a way inflation is taken into account as well as to ensure participation in social life. The citizens’ income replaced Hartz IV benefits at the beginning of the year. Source: taz

Rammstein singer’s sexual assault probe dropped

Germany has dropped investigations against Rammstein singer Till Lindemann, the Berlin state prosecutor’s office said in a statement last Tuesday. Prosecutors considered initial investigations “did not provide any evidence” of the claims and said as well that law enforcement agencies have yet to receive testimony from any alleged victims of Lindemann’s conduct, meaning that investigators were not able to substantiate the allegations. Regarding Shelby Lynn, a fan who said she suspected that her drink was spiked with a drug at a band’s party in Vilnius, Berlin prosecutors affirmed her testimony remained too “vague.” Source: dw

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