News from Berlin and Germany, 3rd July 2024

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Street renamed and inaugurated after black lesbian feminist

In Berlin-Kreuzberg, part of Manteuffelstraße was renamed Audre-Lorde-Straße back in September 2023, causing confusion among residents, parcel deliverers and authorities, since the official inauguration only took place recently. At the inauguration, district mayor Clara Herrmann (Greens) apologised for the fact that the renaming had “taken longer.” The reason given by the administration for not putting up new street signs for months was that the renaming process had led to unforeseeable problems. The new street name brings more diversity to Berin. It honours the black lesbian feminist Audre Lorde, who taught at the FU Berlin in the 1980s and 1990s. Source: freilich


New citizenship law comes into force

On Thursday, 27 June 2024, the Act on the Modernisation of the Citizenship Law comes into force. With it, the Federal Ministry of the Interior is implementing a key reform. People who work in Germany and are well integrated can become German citizens after just five years instead of eight. Moreover, they no longer need to give up their previous citizenship. Under strict conditions, naturalisation will also be possible in the future after three years. At the same time, the requirements for commitment to the free democratic basic order will become stricter: naturalization will be ruled out when racism or antisemitism is identified. Source: bmi

Hundreds of right-wing extremists in the police

Within one and a half years, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) has dealt with a total of 739 cases of employees of security authorities with indications of possible right-wing extremist attitudes. The current report covers the period from 1 July 2021 to 31 December 2022 and looks at both state and federal authorities. According to the report, state authorities accounted for 189 cases. However, the Federal Ministry of the Interior points out that more than half of the suspected cases and the cases in which actual indications were found had already been reported in the previous status report. Source: taz

AfD party conference in Essen: football and federal cooperation

Before the party conference in Essen, there was much speculation about how the AfD leadership would deal with the turbulence of recent months. Neither Alice Weidel nor Tino Chrupalla cut a good figure in the affairs surrounding Maximilian Krah and Petr Bystron. Things turned out quite differently in Essen. Weidel opened the party conference with a welcoming speech, speaking about her party using football metaphors, saying that the “team” has to make a “tactical change”, even if a “talented player” (Krah) must leave. Churupalla cited the cooperation within the federal executive and with the state chairmen as an important point in his work review. Source: nd

Nothing new for the East

First in Saxony and Thuringia, then a few weeks later in Brandenburg: in all three states, the AfD threatens to become the strongest force. This would be a fiasco for the CDU in the states, but also for the party chairman Friedrich Merz. So what to do? Last weekend, Merz invited the party presidium, i.e., the inner circle of leadership, to Berlin. An important campaigner was not present, though: Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer. Officially, there were scheduling problems, but one can also speculate that the Kretschmer did not really wish to participate in the meeting. Source: tagesschau

Euro 2024: the AfD and a debate over ‘woke’ national team

During Euro 2024, many German politicians are supporting the host team, but this is not the case of several members of the far-right AfD party. According to them, the German team is not German enough. They do not share the sense of pride in the country’s role as host or the hope for another victory like that during the Germany-hosted 2006 World Cup. AfD leaders such as Maximilian Krah and Björn Höcke complain instead about Germany having become “woke,” “politically correct,” and “the rainbow team.” Source: dw

German weapons exports on the way to a new record

Arms exports from Germany rose 30% in the first semester of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023, as shown by data from the Ministry for the Economy. If the trend continues for the remainder of the year, the total value of arms sales is set to reach a new record. Between January 1 and June 18, the government approved total weapons exports worth at least €7.48 billion. The surge in exports comes despite the governing coalition of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) promising to curb arms deliveries when it took office in December 2021, especially to non-European Union and NATO members. Source: dw

Millions on the sideline

“Every seventh child in Germany is at risk of poverty,” the Federal Statistical Office announced on Monday. According to the Office, children and young people of parents with “lower” educational qualifications are disproportionately affected. Meanwhile, the traffic light coalition is allowing its “‘central social policy project’ – basic child benefit – to wither away,” Christoph Butterwegge, a political scientist from the University of Köln, commented. Since the beginning of the debate, it has been “a tactical stalemate within the traffic light coalition,” continued the inequality researcher, who says that the basic child benefit to be launched only in 2025 is “a waste of time.” Source: jW

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