News from Berlin and Germany, Thursday 15th February 2023

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Fast admission for earthquake victims with relatives in Berlin 

After one of the worst earthquake catastrophes of the last decades at the Turkish-Syrian border area, with several thousand dead, the readiness to help and donate is great in Berlin. Turks, Syrians and other people from the affected region who want to reach their relatives in Berlin should be able to obtain the necessary visa quicker than usual. More specifically, the regulation applies to close relatives such as minor children and spouses, the Senate’s internal administration announced on Friday evening. According to the statement, the acceleration of visa issuance is valid until 31 July 2023. “The relatives will receive a residence permit.” Source:

CDU election winner Wegner wants to start talks “immediately”

“A clear mandate to govern” is what CDU top candidate Kai Wegner sees after the Sunday election in Berlin. After his victory, Wegner wants to enter into talks with the SPD and the Greens immediately. “In essence, we have two runners-up, two two-party constellations are possible – that is, black-red and black-green. I will invite both at the same time and hope for quick talks,” Wegner mentioned last Monday. The SPD won only 105 votes more than the Greens in the repeat election for the Berlin state parliament. Source: rbb24

Almost 4 million inhabitants

Berlin keeps growing and growing. Last year, the number of inhabitants rose by more than 75,000. A large part of the new Berliners are refugees from Ukraine. The number of residents in Berlin has reached a new high: as of 31 December 2022, around 3,851,000 people had their primary residence in the capital, more than at any time since the Second World War. This was announced by the Berlin-Brandenburg Statistics Office on Tuesday; the data comes from the population register. At the same time, the number of people with German citizenship fell by 13,481. Source: rbb24

Police station at Kottbusser Tor opened

After years of discussions and planning, the controversial new police station at Kottbusser Tor in Berlin-Kreuzberg has opened. Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) spoke on Wednesday morning of the most modern police station in Berlin. She was “incredibly proud” of the project. However, in front of police cordons at Kottbusser Tor, around 200 mostly young people from the left-wing scene demonstrated against the police station, chanting: “Get lost, get lost”. The new small “Nebenwache am Kottbusser Tor”, as it is officially called, is located on the first floor of a high-rise building in the overpass over Adalbertstraße. Source: tagesspiegel

Little credibility

Activists from Fridays for Future at the Technical University of Berlin stand in front of the Rotes Rathaus (Red City Hall) during a demonstration under the motto “#BerlinWantsClimate”. In view of the election of the Berlin House of Deputies, the activists are calling for a climate-neutral Berlin by 2030. Many voters do not trust the parties represented in the Berlin state parliament to be able to meet the challenges of the climate crisis. This is suggested by the results of a representative survey, the results of which were published on Sunday by the Initiative Clever Cities of climate and transport lobbyist Heinrich Strößenreuter. Source: taz


At the expense of victims

Since the beginning of December, the Cologne Regional Court has been hearing a claim for damages for pain and suffering that could have extremely costly consequences for the Catholic Church, not only in this specific case, but overall. A young altar boy in the 1970s, who was repeatedly the victim of sexualized harassment at the hands of the Catholic priest Erich J., demands around 750,000 euros in damages. The Cologne archdiocese under the leadership of Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki does not deny the acts, which are part of the so-called Cologne Abuse Report. Source: jW

Saxony denies hardship case

The Saxon Hardship Commission does not consider the case of the family of former Vietnamese GDR contract worker Pham Phi Son, who is threatened with deportation, to be a case of hardship. Last Friday, the commision rejected the family’s application for a humanitarian right to stay. The 65-year-old Pham Phi Son came in 1987 as a contract worker and lived in Chemnitz as a blameless citizen. He had an unlimited residence permit. In 2016 he made a mistake: he extended his Vietnam leave to nine months for health reasons. However, a maximum of six months is allowed, otherwise the right of residence expires. Source: nd

Germany to produce Gepard ammunition

Germany has delivered more than 30 Gepard tanks to Ukraine – but ammunition is in short supply. Switzerland is blocking the delivery of Swiss-produced ammunition, considering the country’s neutral status, so Germany now wants to produce ammunition itself. “The contracts for the production of Gepard ammunition have been signed,” Defence Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) told at the NATO defence ministers’ meeting. He also appealed to the German defence industry to ramp up production capacities. The NATO countries are in Brussels to discuss further military support for Ukraine. Possible fighter jet deliveries are also likely to be a topic. Source: zdf

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