Germany’s News in English: April 29 – May 5

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. Bavarian Minister Markus Söder demands tax reform

tax, CSU, Markus Söder, companies

Minister Markus Söder (CSU) is demanding, that companies in Germany should pay 5% fewer taxes. During a visit to Austria, he laid out several points of how he wants to prevent a “tax politics standstill”. The costs would build up to two Billion Euro.

He named the tax reform in Austria as a positive example of why corporate taxes must be lowered and warned that businesses might want to move across the border. Söder further elaborated that he also wants to take the burden of the citizens by lowering electricity taxes. He, however, stood firm against carbon dioxide taxes, as this would push some people towards the AfD and more radical positions. It would however, according to Söder, also create friction between the countryside and the cities, as the latter would need their car less often, and would there be less impacted by such a tax.

He also views the coalition agreement, according to which solidarity tax should be discontinued for 90% of the population, as against the constitution. He demands complete discontinuation.

Source: Die Süddeutsche

2. CDU kicks CO2 tax out of climate paper

cdu, kramp-karrenbauer, climate, CO2, position paper, tax
The government party CDU will remove a potential CO2 tax from its position paper for mobility and climate. The demand by party head Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is highly controversial within the party. Some members were strongly in favor of introducing such a tax. Members of the coalition partner SPD had also spoken in favor of introducing this tax.

This decision might have negative consequences for Kramp-Karrenbauer and the CDU, as it will likely position the party again as an institution that cares more for the interests of the economy than the climate. Kramp-Karrenbauer had originally set out to change that perception and re-gain voters who are leaning towards to the Green Party in the upcoming EU elections.

Source: Der Spiegel

3. Churches will lose half of their members by 2060

church, taxes, members, protestant, catholic
By the year 2060, only a third of the country’s population will still be a member of the church. According to a prognosis by the Forschungszentrums Generationenverträge (FZG) of the University of Freiburg, the number of members will sink from currently 54% to 29%. In 2017, 44.8 Million Germans were part of the Protestant and Catholic Church. By 2035, that number will be at 34.8 Million, in 2060 at 22.7 Million.

This will lead to lesser money flowing into the church, the taxes reducing from 12.8 Billion to 12 Billion Euro. Due to inflation, the tax would technically have to rise to 25 Billion Euro, in order to be able to continue with all the current programs and affiliations.

Source: Die Zeit

4. Unmarried spouses will be able to adopt their step-children

stepchild, mother, father, marriage
The most common form of adoption in Germany is the adoption of step-children. Until now, unmarried couples were excluded from doing this. The Federal Constitutional Court has now come to the conclusion that this is unconstitutional, and that the adoption of children must be possible in a non-marriage relationship. The government has time until the end of March 2020 to come up with a law that will reinforce this right.

The reason given by the court was the non-discrimination precept and the wellbeing of the child. Cause for taking this issue to court was the complaint by a mother and her two children: The biological father had died in 2006, and in 2007 the mother started a new relationship without entering marriage again. Nonetheless, the mother wanted her partner to gain legal custody of her kids.

Source: Die Zeit

5. New travel scandal for the DFB

DFB, football, Germany, Brazil, tax
Members of the management and honorary members of the German Football Association (DFB) traveled with a special Lufthansa flight in the business class for free to the World Cup finale in Brazil. Employees of the DFB were invited too. Unlike the top-level functionaries, they had to pay for their tickets in the economy class.

Apart from the free flight, the functionaries also received free tickets for the finale, at a 750 Euro market worth each. The Business class service continued on location with a transfer to the Get-together-Location Terraço Lagoa, whereas the employees had to spend an average of €2,000 to participate in the event.

This trip might get even more problematic tax-wise for the DFB. To justify these trips in the past as official and necessary, the DFB organized official meetings at every destination point. The trip to Brazil, however, was just for pure fun with no official gatherings and work.

Source: Der Spiegel

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