News from Berlin and Germany, 8th May 2024

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



VBB boss Ute Bonde is Berlin’s new transport senator

Berlin’s Mayor Kai Wegner (CDU) has announced that Ute Bonde, a local transport expert, will succeed Manja Schreiner as Berlin’s transport senator. Bonde is managing director of the Berlin-Brandenburg Transport Association Berlin-Brandenburg. She is a CDU member from Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and will be sworn in as the new Senator for Mobility, Transport, Climate Protection and the Environment in the parliamentary session on May 23rd. Transport policy is a high priority in the city. There have been debates, for example, about the introduction of a 29-euro monthly ticket for local transport or the partial conversion of the central Friedrichstraße into a pedestrian zone. Source: rbb24

“We want the fence as quickly as possible”

After months of delays and uncertainty, Mayor Kai Wegner isn’t backing down on his plans for a fence around Görlitzer Park. In a recent interview with the German Press Agency, Wegner mentioned “legal delay tactics” deployed by the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district against the plans. “The tender process for the fence is still ongoing,” he said. “That’s why we can’t give a date for the fence yet,” added Wegner. “We want the fence as quickly as possible.” However, one thing is certain: it’s definitely not happening on schedule. Source: the berliner


All four suspects in attack on SPD politicians identified

Three days after the attack on the Saxon top candidate for the European elections, Matthias Ecke (SPD), the Saxony State Criminal Police Office (LKA) has identified all four suspected attackers. They are all young Germans aged between 17 and 18 years old. However, the suspects are at large as there are no grounds for their arrest. According to the LKA, two of the suspects are already known to the police, the AFP news agency reported. The 41-year-old politician was attacked on Friday evening as he was putting up election posters for his party. He was seriously injured and had to undergo surgery. Source: tagesschau

Bundeswehr’s meetings found online

The German military confirmed earlier reports of a vulnerability affecting the Webex software that it uses for online meetings. The organization admitted last Saturday that a flaw in the video-conferencing tool left more than 6,000 of its meetings publicly accessible online. Zeit Online reported accessing German Bundeswehr meetings by using simple search terms on the military’s Webex system, and mentioned that the military only became aware of the security errors after they approached them for comment. The military said the bug was fixed within 24 hours of being reported. Source: dw

AfD trial in Münster: Will the judgement come soon?

The AfD keeps trying to delay the trial against the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. But the court wants to come to an end. It is considered practically certain that the proceedings in Münster will also determine the threat of the party being categorised as a confirmed right-wing extremist organisation. The party had already failed with two bias motions on the first day of the trial in March. After that, it had painstakingly and sluggishly submitted motions for evidence regarding the questioning of employees of the domestic intelligence service. Source: taz

Green Party and ver.di push for 15-euro minimum wage

The trade union ver.di and the Green Party, who makes up one-third of Germany’s governing coalition, are pushing for a 15-euro per hour minimum wage to be adopted by 2026. They note the German minimum wage should be increased in order to meet the guidelines of an EU Commission directive. As it stands, the German government commission responsible for deciding annual minimum wage increases has only revealed plans to increase the wage from 12,41 to 12,81 euros per hour from January 2025. The wage increase for 2026 will be decided by the German government elected in late 2025. Source: iamexpat

Study in Germany shows correlation between racism and poverty

The German Center for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM) in Berlin published a study entitled “Limits of Equality. Racism and the risk of poverty.” The study shows a correlation between racism and the risk of poverty. The researchers searched comprehensively for discrimination: in the education system, the labor market, the housing market, and the health sector. Other studies before the current one showed that individuals with a migration background often face discrimination when looking for a job. This increases the risk of having to live below the poverty line. Source: dw

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