News from Berlin and Germany, 5th January 2023

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany



The new election and the “ex nunc effect”

Parties are again allowed to distribute flyers in Berlin, because on February 12th the vote for the Abgeordnetenhaus will be held for the second time in 18 months. The reason is well known: the first attempt in September 2021 was botched. Missing ballot papers, closed polling stations, and far too long queues – the list of mishaps was so long that the Constitutional Court of Berlin declared the elections invalid last November. Nevertheless, the Federal Constitutional Court declared the invalidity has an ex nunc effect: “It does not apply to the past, but to the future.” Source: ntv

Berlin takes over costs in case of energy disconnections

Sharp increases in energy costs are causing payment difficulties for many people in Berlin. Starting next week, however, those affected can get money from a hardship fund. This fund is intended to help people with low and medium income who can no longer pay their electricity or heating bills because of current price developments. Affected private households can apply to have their energy debts taken over. This applies to both threatened and already executed energy disconnections. The entire procedure can only be completed digitally, via an online form on the state portal in the service area. Source: rbb24

Why small wind turbines are rare in Berlin and Brandenburg so far

Small wind turbines have so far led a shadowy existence in Berlin and Brandenburg. Ambitious projects on high-rise buildings or radio masts have failed due to difficult building laws. Approval is often complicated because building law makes no distinction between large and small wind turbines. However, Mowea GmbH, a spin-off start-up of TU Berlin, has two wind turbines on the roof of its headquarters at Storkower Straße 115A, coupled with a solar system. And a pilot project, at Frankfurter Allee 218, is about to start: its four planned small wind turbines on the high-rise roof are expected to receive approval soon. Source: rbb24

Around one in five of those arrested in Berlin are minors

Almost 150 people were arrested by police in connection with disturbances in Berlin on New Year’s Eve. According to the police, one in five of them was a minor. A total of 355 criminal and administrative offence proceedings have been initiated. In 89 cases, investigations are underway for violation of the Weapons Act, in 47 cases for dangerous bodily harm. Because many of the attacks happened against the fire brigade and police, politicians understand the social structure of the perpetrators as one of the sources of violence and demand better integration efforts for migrants in Germany. Source: rbb24


The fight for every metre begins

The announcements of the Aachen police, who are responsible for the operations in the Rhenish lignite mining area, sounded reassuring: from January 2nd, there would be an increased police presence around Lützerath, but the eviction would only start from January 10th. But this Monday, the situation for the squatters in Lützerath turned out to be quite threatening. Several hundred police officers had taken up positions around the site of the Garzweiler II open-cast lignite mine. Journalists reported difficulties in getting to Lützerath, which was hindered by the police. Attacks by the police on arriving activists were also alleged. Source: nd

Long investigation against Björn Höcke

Two experts in criminal law have criticized the slow investigations by the public prosecutor’s office in Halle against Björn Höcke, the leader of the AfD party in Thuringia. The public prosecutor’s office has been investigating the right-wing extremist for around 19 months because he used the banned SA slogan “Alles für Deutschland” (All for Germany) in 2021. It is important to note that, according to section 86a, the use of signs of unconstitutional and terrorist organizations is punishable by a prison sentence of up to three years or a fine. Source: taz

Beetles against the motorway

It is not only in Lützerath in North Rhine-Westphalia that an occupation by climate activists could be evicted next week. Environmentalists are also facing decisive days near Frankfurt am Main. They have long been protesting a transportation project that has its origins back in the 1960s. The Riederwald Tunnel, a project from the Autobahn Era, was planned to relieve congestion in the city, but this is considered uncertain, not to mention the loss of life quality: local recreation areas such as the Fechenheim Forest, the Teufelsbruch and the Riederwald would be destroyed or massively damaged by the motorway project. Source: nd

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