Germany’s News in English: April 15 – 21

Welcome to the latest edition of MyExpatCommunity news feature for Germany! Our goal is to provide you with the most important news of the last two weeks from Germany – so you can stay up to date.

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1. Peace Marches in 50 German Cities

peace, march, germany, easter

The Easter Peace Marches are a tradition that was started in the 60s by the peace movement. This year, again thousands of peace activists have been marching since Maundy Thursday all over Germany. The biggest march lasted three days and started with more than 300 people marching in Duisburg. Other cities involved in the tradition were Düsseldorf, Berlin, Flensburg, Schwerin or Bremen. Objectives of the protesters were peace, disarmament and the ban of nuclear weapons.

Over the decades, the number of participants has decreased. While the movement used to mobilize up to hundreds of thousands of people, these days there are only several hundreds of marchers to be spotted.

Source: Der Spiegel


2. EU publishes response to US tariffs

trade war, boeing, airbus, retaliation, list, Commission, EU, USA
The European Union is planning further tariffs for products from the United States. With special levies on products like tomato ketchup, handbags, games consoles, and helicopters the Union is planning to balancce the damage of illegal subsidies for the American aircraft manufacturer Boeing. The European Commission has published a list of hundreds of products in total.

The damage of the subsidies is currently estimated at 12 Billion Dollars, which is about 10.6 Billion Euro. The cause is mainly due to the competitive disadvantage of the European aircraft builder Airbus. The list published by the Commission will head into a public consultation procedure which should last until the end of May. The list will undergo shortening and still needs to be greenlighted by the World Trade Organization.

Source: FAZ


3. AfD invites Steve Bannon into German Bundestag

germany, bundestag, righ-wing, journalist, media, steve bannon, AfD
AfD delegates have invited right-wing journalists and bloggers to the Bundestag on May 11. The so-called “1st Conference of the Free Media” will deal with the exchange of information and how to “shape this process better and more efficiently in the future”.

According to the magazine „Spiegel”, the AfD has also invited Steve Bannon, the former strategist for US President Donald Trump. Bannon has been trying for months to unite the right-wing forces in Europa and had previously stated in an interview that the AfD was doing “great work”. In case Bannon can’t make it, the AfD has also extended an invitation to former UKIP-chairman Nigel Farage.

Source: Der Spiegel


4. Ailing rail network raises concerns

railroad, network, Germany, workers union, budget, deutsche bahn
The worker’s council of the Deutsche Bahn has written a letter to Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer (CSU), signed by 270 members, about the ailing state of the German rail network. The infrastructure is declared as underfunded and having reached a critical level.

The council is demanding an additional 2.7 Billion Euro per year to modernize the network. Currently, the budget allocates 4.5 Billion Euro per year starting in 2020. The worker’s council deems this as too little. Especially with the digitalization of the trains and the reconstruction of the train stations, an additional 10 Billion might be needed per year.

Source: Der Spiegel


5. Stricter penalties against gum and cigarette trash

gum, cigarette, dogs, streets, fine, fee, penalty
Higher penalties, more monitoring, bigger trash cans, and returnable systems: German cities have introduced multiple ways to deal with trash thrown on the streets across the country. The state of Baden-Wüttemberg is now going to the next level to fight gum, cigarettes and dog droppings on the street. A penalty fee catalog is suggesting fees up to 250 Euro if caught in the act. Until now, the fee was at 10 to 20 Euro.

In other locations, the city of Mannheim had increased the fees in April when the newly renovated shopping mile had opened. Throwing away a cigarette butt comes now at a 75 Euro penalty, chewing gum 250 Euro. Dog droppings cost the owner 100 to 250 Euro. The Bavarian city Augsburg has been filing 40 Euro since June last year. According to the municipality, the fines have shown effect in a decrease in littering.

The city of Stuttgart is also increasing cigarette butts and gum to a fee of about a 100 Euro. Furthermore, the campaign „Clean Stuttgart“ has been launched, including the establishment of bigger trash cans. The city of Hannover is currently also debating increasing the fees. At the moment, the fine is at 10 Euro for gum.

The strictest city is currently Dresden. The number of fines has increased dramatically over the years, 2018 the city dealt with 1439 proceedings of trash on the streets. In total, a fee of 33,000 Euro was collected from all the cases.

Source: Der Spiegel

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