News from Berlin and Germany, 6th October 2022

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Gas shortage: Berlin Bäderbetriebe’s saunas remain cold

The saunas of the “Berliner Bäderbetriebe” will remain closed this autumn. “This is the Bäderbetriebe’s reaction to the impending gas shortage and the requirement to save as much fossil energy as possible,” said its spokeswoman Claudia Blankennagel. Customers are asked for their understanding. Already in Spring, the Berliner Bäderbetriebe took first measures to reduce the energy demand. Initially, the water in the summer pools was only heated to 24 degrees. In the indoor pools, the water temperature has been 26 degrees since opening in August/September. Exceptions to this are therapy pools, where it is warmer. Source: Berliner Zeitung

Criticism on repeating elections in Berlin

Because of numerous electoral glitches, the coalition government wants to have the Bundestag elections repeated in about 300 of the nearly 2,300 polling stations in Berlin. The chairperson of the Bundestag’s electoral review committee, Daniela Ludwig (CSU), criticized the proposal of the traffic light coalition to have the Bundestag election in Berlin repeated in only 300 polling stations. “We actually parted company in the summer with the proposal by the traffic light coalition to have over 400 polling stations repeated. Now this will be reduced further,” mentioned Ludwig. Source: rbb

Senator of Justice: Berlin’s neutrality law discriminates against Muslims

The Berlin Senate wants to take stronger action against anti-Muslim racism. It is a matter of recognizing and eliminating the “structural discrimination” against Muslims, explained Justice Senator Lena Kreck (“die Linke”) in the House of Representatives. “An important step towards this is the abolition of the neutrality law.” Berlin’s neutrality law largely prohibits the wearing of religious symbols in parts of the public service, especially in the police, judicial service and education. It is the most far-reaching regulation in this area in Germany. In 2020, the Federal Labour Court declared the blanket headscarf ban for Muslim teachers unconstitutional. Source: islamiq




Germany sends arms to Saudi Arabia

The German government has approved arms exports to Saudi Arabia – despite Riyadh’s war in Yemen. The decision is said to have been made shortly before Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) travelled to the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and to the United Arab Emirates. The two leading members of the war coalition against Yemen are receiving arms worth a total of 37.4 million euros from Germany. Although Angela Merkel’s cabinet officially stopped all arms exports to Saudi Arabia in 2018 after the murder of exiled journalist Jamal Kashoggi, exceptions for European joint projects were made from the beginning. Source: jW

Inflation in Germany at highest level in 70 years

Following the abolition of the nine-euro ticket and the petrol discount, consumer prices in Germany rose massively in September. Inflation in Germany has jumped to its highest level in about 70 years. Driven by rising energy and food prices, consumer prices increased by 10.0 per cent in September compared to the same month last year, the Federal Statistical Office announced in a first estimate. According to a survey by the German Retail Association (HDE), 60 percent of consumers are already cutting back on shopping, and, as many as 76 per cent of respondents are preparing to shop more sparingly in the coming months. Source: DW

Reunification anniversary – Protest instead of party

The anniversary of the annexation of the GDR to the FRG has always aimed at countering social division with a black-red-gold celebration. But some people just don’t want to be in a jubilant mood. “We don’t feel like celebrating, we feel like protesting,” said Uwe Hiksch of the Naturefriends Germany. He was one of the organisers of the demonstration “Heating, Bread and Peace – Protest instead of Freezing!”, which marched through Berlin on 3 October. Meanwhile, a look at the statistics is enlightening: after 45 years of contributions, pensioners in the east received an average of 1,329 euros a month in 2021, while in western Germany it was 1,527 euros. Source: jW

Eurowings: pilots’ union calls strike for Thursday

The pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit has called for a full-day strike at the airline Eurowings on Thursday. The VC announced the negotiations on the collective wage agreement at the Lufthansa subsidiary has failed. It was not initially known how many flights would be affected by the strike, but a spokesperson said the strike would affect the flight operations of Eurowings Germany, but not those of Eurowings Europe. A central demand is the relief of the employees, for example by reducing the maximum flight duty times and increasing the rest periods. Source: jW

Will there ever be a nine-euro successor ticket?

A successor for the nine-euro ticket remains vague. After a direct follow-up solution to the million-selling ticket failed at the end of August, the new planned start date of 1 January is now also in danger. It is still completely unclear what the ticket will cost and what it will achieve – but above all, who will pay for it: the “Länder” only want to agree to it and pay half of the total costs of three billion euros if the federal government also increases its local transport funds substantially. Meanwhile, city states like Berlin and Bremen are presenting new local transport tickets. Source; Süddeutsche

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