News from Germany and Berlin: 16 January, 2021

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany


Compiled by Ana Ferreira



A bad year for the AfD

In the RTL/ntv trend barometer the AfD started the later Corona year on a par with the SPD. Twelve months later, things are not yet better for the Social Democrats, but they look much worse for the right-wing alternative. No other party has lost so much support in the polls over the year: AfD lost five percentage points. The winner of 2020 is clearly the CDU/CSU – although it was unable to maintain the 40% approval rating from the early summer (currently, with 36%). Die Linke and FDP each slipped by one percentage point compared to early 2020. Source: ntv

No significant reform of Hartz IV before the election

The SPD announced it wants to “leave Hartz IV behind.” However, SPD Minister Hubertus Heil has only just presented a draft bill for the reform of basic social security benefits. In essence, the draft is neither about abolishing the cuts in the funds nor about a significant increase in the standard rates. But benefit recipients are to be shown more appreciation. The CDU has already objected to all this. This means that there will probably be no fundamental reorientation of Hartz IV before the federal elections at the end of September. Source: nd

Job centre pays too little for rent

Those who receive Hartz IV benefits are entitled to have their accommodation and heating costs paid for in addition to the standard rate. However, only an “appropriate” amount is paid, and this amount is not clearly defined by law. A woman from Eschwege sued a job centre in 2016 once she had to pay around 375 euros a month for her rent, while it paid her monthly housing costs of 274 euros. Peter Menges, vice-chairman of the unemployed initiative Owei, believes that such judgements will mean a great financial relief for many more welfare recipients. Source: nd

it is time for “Zero Covid”

“Zero Covid”, an initiative of scientists, authors and health workers, demand a “radical change of strategy” and an immediate lockdown in all areas of the economy throughout Europe. “We don’t need a controlled continuation of the pandemic, but an end to it,” says the appeal by the group around philosopher and author Bini Adamczak. The measures are considered to be “(…) based on social solidarity”. For the subsequent loss of wages, the initiative wants a comprehensive rescue package to be passed that guarantees compensation and continued payments. The money for such an intervention is available, the initiative argues. Source: taz


Riot police attack Luxemburg-Liebknecht demo

About 3,000 people took part in the traditional Luxemburg-Liebknecht (LL) demonstration in Berlin last Sunday. Even before the demonstration could start moving, the riot police attacked. A number of video sequences published on the internet show the officers beating up the demonstrators. Police also used pepper spray. There were a number of arrests and detentions, as well as injuries. Even minors and a wheelchair user were allegedly attacked by the officers. On Twitter, the press office of the Berlin police justified the action by saying some participants wore “forbidden FDJ symbols” and refused to take them off. Source: jW

COVID in Berlin leads to 15km travel restriction

Berlin is set to join other parts of Germany in implementing a 15-kilometer travel restriction for those who live here. Starting on next Saturday, residents will be prohibited from travelling more than 15km beyond the capital limits, based on the pandemic incidence rate. In general, the 15km boundary gets triggered each time a district sees more than 200 new infections per 100,000 people within seven days. Germany’s stricter shutdown, which was extended from January 10 until at least the end of January, requires a valid reason to leave home. Other countries, such as France, restrict people to within one kilometer of their homes. Source: dw

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