News from Berlin and Germany: 6 February, 2021

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany


Compiled by Ana Ferreira



The state remains white

For the time being, Berlin will probably not have a migrant quota for the civil service and state-owned companies. The amendment to the Participation and Integration Act drafted by Integration Senator Elke Breitenbach (die LINKE) originally envisaged a quota of 35 per cent for people with a migration background. Christine Lang (Max Planck Institute) considers a quota to be a “delicate matter” and a last resort, but she believes it is a suitable means of exerting pressure on the administration. “Any kind of diversity is good for the administration because it is very white,” Lang told “nd”. Source: nd

Protestant foundation sells real estate in Neukölln

Shortly before Christmas, a building at Anzengruberstraße 24 was sold by the Evangelisches Johannesstift Foundation to an as yet unknown new owner. The social charter agreed with the buyer “aims to protect the existing tenants for many years (…).” According to the tenants, the average rent is five euros per square metre. About half of the residents are pensioners, any many live on basic benefits. They criticise the agreement for only protecting existing tenants, “New neighbours would be second-class tenants.” “The charter only offers de facto legal protection against rent increases and modernisation – it is completely worthless here,” the tenants say. Source: nd


Die LINKE in Saxony-Anhalt selects its candidates for the local elections

When Eva von Angern received the good news, she rose briefly from her seat. At the representatives’ meeting of the Left (die LINKE) in Saxony-Anhalt, it was noticeable the personnel did not change too much compared to the last election – despite the new top candidate. Meanwhile, there was frustration among the Left Youth. Although its candidates could still directly enter the state parliament, this is likely to be difficult. Source: nd

Labour market in shutdown

The head of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), Detlef Scheele (SPD), said thet the labour market is “still in robust shape. But the measures taken to contain the corona pandemic are leaving their mark.” There has been a significant increase in unemployment and so-called underemployment, a high number of short-time workers, and fewer vacancies and training places. According to the BA, there were 2.9 million unemployed in January, almost 200,000 more than a month earlier. The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) forecast a three per cent drop in gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2021. Source: jW

More armed right-wing extremists

The number of right-wing extremists with gun permits known to the authorities has risen significantly in 2020. According to a response by the federal government, security authorities counted around 1,200 actual or suspected right-wing extremists legally in possession of weapons at the end of last year. There are two types of weapons permits: for hunters and sports shooters. The new weapons law has been in force for about a year – now, a check is made on people applying for a permit and every three years thereafter, to see that they have the necessary “reliability and personal suitability”. Source: taz

Lübcke case´s appeals

The right-wing extremist Stephan E. from Kassel was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Walter Lübcke. The co-defendant Markus H., however, was acquitted. Lübcke’s family declared that the acquittal was “incomprehensible and difficult to cope with”. Now the relatives are appealing against the verdict. They are not alone. All other parties to the trial are also contesting the sentences: the federal prosecution; Markus H.; the main defendant, Stephan E.; and Ahmed I., who was stabbed with a knife in front of his asylum accommodation in Kassel on 6 January 2016. Stephan E. was also charged with this crime. Source: taz

German TV show and Racism

German TV personalities apologised for taking part in a controversial show, which discussed racism. All of the participants were white. The discussion on WDR’s “The Last Resort” featured guests dismissing calls to rename “Zigeunersoße,” or “gypsy sauce.” Germany’s Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency condemned the “unspeakable statements,” while Saskia Esken (SPD) tweeted that she was “lost for words.” In response to the controversy, German broadcaster WDR issued a statement saying the criticism was warranted, and that the panel should have included people who were directly affected by racism. Source: vice

Too black and too gay

In November 2020, a 51-year-old doctor started a petition on the anti-discrimination platform “allout” because his application to succeed the retired senior medical officer Andreas von Welczeck has been repeatedly rejected. He accuses the responsible city health councillor Bernd Geschanowski (AfD) of having prevented his appointment because he was “too gay” and “too black.”. “You don’t fit here,” Geschanowski is said to have said to him. “While saying this, Mr Geschanowski pointed to his skin. The Cuban-born doctor mentions his experience and qualification. In his petition, he writes he worked many years at the Bremen Health Department, as well with the organization „Doctors Without Borders.“ Source: nd

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