News from Berlin and Germany, 5th April 2023

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Ombudsman’s office registers more complaints about discrimination

Thanks to a special law, anyone who experiences discrimination from the authorities in Berlin can defend themselves. The complaints which arrive at the responsible ombudsman’s office under the Berlin Anti-Discrimination Act (LADG) are diverse and increasing. In 2022, there were 645 reports (2021: 613), according to head of the German Press Agency Doris Liebscher. In the first quarter of 2023, there were 205 complaints. That represents 45 per cent more than in the same period last year. Berlin is so far the only federal state that has its own anti-discrimination law. Source: rbb

Greens and Left in Berlin against compulsory religion as a subject in schools

Should a black-red government come into power, the CDU and SPD not only want to introduce religion as a compulsory subject from the 7th grade onward, but also to require that teachers of religious subjects pass a “state-exam”. So far, the religious and ideological communities provide lessons, which are offered as an optional subject in primary school. In 2009, there was even a referendum on the introduction of religion as a compulsory subject in schools. At that time, 51.4 per cent voted against it. The Greens and the Left have criticised the idea. Source: tagesspiel

Hackescher Markt: a pedestrian zone

Hackescher Markt and adjacent streets in Berlin-Mitte are to become a pedestrian only zone. This was decided by the district assembly (BVV) of Mitte on Thursday with votes in favour from the Greens, the SPD and the Left. The district office is thus called upon to redesign the area into a pedestrian zone together with the Senate Environmental Administration. The area is chronically crowded: many shops and tourists – with narrow pavements. According to the resolution, delivery traffic to all shops should remain possible. Craftsmen and care workers will also be allowed to drive into the area. Trams would continue to have priority. Source: rbb



Interim results from study into police

A study into “everyday police work” commissioned following many accusations of racism in the force has found in interim results that police officers in Germany have issues with workload, stress and low satisfaction. The study was commissioned by the German Police University under the former Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU). Seehofer vehemently refused a study into racism focusing solely on the police. According to the study, managers and law enforcement officers were also confronted with allegations of racism. “Misanthropic positions,” it summarises, “can also be found in the police, as in the population as a whole.” However, tendencies to devalue asylum seekers are visible in almost 30 percent of the respondents. Source: tagesschau

“Scholz’s silence is incredibly loud”

Trade unions and social associations have called on Chancellor Scholz to intervene in a dispute over the basic child allowance. The Chief Executive of the Paritätischer Gesamtverband, Ulrich Schneider, criticised the argument given by Christian Lindner (FDP), regarding an increase in child benefit to 250 euros as a “classic smokescreen”. Linder claims there is not enough funds to increase the support for families, however, under the current plan, wealthier families will receive more financial aid than poorer ones in the form of tax rebates. Economist Martin Werding also cast doubts on the policy. A member of the German Council of Economic Experts, the economist said “Poor families have nothing to gain from the higher child benefit because it is fully offset against the citizen’s allowance for their children”. Source: tagesschau

Which skilled workers Germany really needs

In Germany, more than two and a half million people are looking for work – and at the same time there is a shortage of almost two million skilled workers. How does this fit together and, above all, where is the are the most pressing shortages? The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) goes further concluding in its Skilled Workers Report 2022 that the “shortages of skilled workers are increasing.” Also, Sabine Köhne-Finster, co-author of the IW study “Fachkräftereport Dezember 2022” mentions the social sector in particular is strongly affected, with a lack of “social workers, educators”. Source: dw

Charles´ appearance in Bundestag criticised

Charles III is the first King to address the members of the German Bundestag (as a prince, he spoke to the House on Remembrance Day, in 2020). However, his visit does not evoke joy everywhere: the Left Party openly rejects it. Martin Schirdewan, leader of the Left Party, has criticised the speech of the British King in the Bundestag. “It is not appropriate for the highest democratic body to bow before a monarch,” he said. Also, left-wing MP Ates Gürpinar announced he would stay away from the King’s speech of the in the plenary hall. Source: n-tv

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