News from Berlin and Germany, 31 March 2022

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



First step for Berlin cycle expressway completed

The first steps of the initially planned ten cycle paths in Berlin have been completed. The feasibility studies “Reinickendorf Route” and “Mitte-Tegel-Spandau” were published on Thursday, as the mobility administration announced. According to the study, both routes are “legally and traffic-wise feasible” and have a “positive cost-benefit factor”. Planners have classified a total of nine of the ten planned express cycle routes as feasible. The exception is the “Spandauer Damm – Freiheit” route, which could only be implemented in one section. However, these are only proposals so far, the details of the individual routes have not yet been determined. Source: rbb.

New social centre opens at “Kotti”: help for drug-addicted and homeless people in Kreuzberg

Poor and homeless people gather in the public space, drugs are trafficked in the basement of the underground station. Many who stay here during the day experience enormously difficult living situations. “Kotti” hits the headlines as a so-called crime-ridden place. Against this background, Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) wants to set up a police station there, manned around the clock seven days a week. Elif Eralp (“die Linke”) is critical though of such measures once she considers “the conflicts that exist at the ‘Kotti’ cannot be solved with a police station.” Source: nd.



Agreement reached in collective dispute of airport security workers

In the collective bargaining dispute over higher wages for security staff at German airports, an agreement has been reached between the services union ver.di and the Federal Association of Aviation Security Companies (BDLS), according to union sources. There would be different increases in three steps within 24 months for the approximately 25,000 employees in passenger, personnel and cargo control, depending on the pay scale group. It will range between 4.4 and 7.8 per cent in 2022. The collective agreement will run until 31 December 2023 and was unanimously approved by the ver.di bargaining commission. Source: rbb.

Old paragraph, new interpretation

On Monday, Brandenburg’s Interior Minister Michael Stübgen (CDU) confirmed the “Z” symbol of Russian propaganda will be prosecuted in Brandenburg. Previously, the “Tagesspiegel” reported that this was also the case in Berlin, Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) has told the newspaper. “If the Z is used in connection with the Russian war of aggression, that fulfils the initial suspicion of a criminal offence,” says Stübgen, and the authorities would investigate this. Maximum possible punishment in theory: 3 years in prison. The ban has a legal basis, but in practice, there could be many borderline cases. Source: rbb.

What do you think about Russia?

On 27 February 2022, AfD leader Tino Chrupalla says: “We must not forget Russia’s contribution to Germany and Europe, especially in these days.” Chrupalla apparently finds it the right moment to say that as a German one must be grateful to Russia for unification – and for the Russian troop withdrawal from Germany in 1994. And then Chrupalla also opposes an old core demand of the AfD: “We reject a new arms race,” says the politician. Chrupalla’s view on the war and Russia is anything but consensus in the party, deeply divided on the issue as the entire far right. Source: taz.

Germany and its missile defense

With Russian missiles now falling on in Ukraine, German officials consider if it would be time to adopt a similar model and they are expected to get a briefing from Israeli counterparts on their options. The news has received broad support from across party lines. A direct Russian attack on Germany is still seen as unlikely. However, defense officials view an upgrade in military hardware as a necessary deterrent to eventual aggressions. Germany is considering a system like the Arrow 3, from Israel, but this would be operational by 2025. Anyway, the country would need a far more extensive network of radar and batteries than Israel, much smaller. Source: dw.

Warning of slump as in 2020

What damage would local companies, employees, and private households suffer if Russia stopped supplying gas because the West did not want to pay in roubles – or if the German government imposed an import embargo as a sanction after all? The debate takes place at the economic and political levels. If by one side a short time work like in 2020 could be a solution, one must realize natural gas is also a raw material, especially for the chemical, food, and metal industries. Some economists warn therefore of greater disruptions than during the midst of the pandemic. Source: taz.

Tags: ,