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Germany’s News in English: August 5 – 11

Welcome to the latest edition of MyExpatCommunity news on Germany! Here we’ll provide you with snippets of the most important German news from the last couple of weeks so you can stay up to date.

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1. NPD fails with complaint about Million Euro payment

penalty, npd

Ever since the NPD has not been part of the federal state parliaments, finances have not been well for them. Furthering their problems is a statement of accounts from 2007, in which the party made false statements. It now has to pay a penalty of over a Million Euro. The party has filed a constitutional complaint but to no avail. The Federal Constitutional Court has not accepted the complaint.

The penalty is currently stated at 1.27 Million Euro. The NPD claimed that paragraph 31b of the law on political parties was against the constitution. It states that parties have to pay twice the amount of the money of which they made false statements in the statement of accounts. The inaccuracies were first noticed in March 2009, back then calculated at 1.25 Million Euro, leading to the president of the Bundestag at that time, Norbert Lammert (CDU), to set the penalty at 2.5 Million Euro. In the final assessment, the Federal Constitutional Court determined the report was off by 635,678 Euro and therefore set the penalty at 1.27 Million Euro.

The Court denied the complaint by the NPD by stating that the party was unable to make a convincing statement why a penalty with double the amount would be unconstitutional.

Source: Der Spiegel


2. BER-operator checking extension of ban on night flights

airport, BER, ban night flights
The airport operating company of the upcoming main city airport BER in Berlin wants to check if national flights can be avoided between 5 and 6 am. Berlin who has shares in the airport has opted to support the assessment, the federal government as another shareholder rejects it.

The assessment was initiated by a referendum by the federal government of Brandenburg. The referendum demanded a ban between 10 pm and 6 am. According to current plans, no more flights shall be allowed between midnight and 5 am, between 10 pm to midnight and 5 to 6 am only a limited amount of flights are allowed to take off and land. Brandenburg now wants to limit the 5 to 6 am period to international flights only.

How much such an extension of the ban will change anything is to be debated. The BER will one day replace Schönefeld and Tegel, with both airports having intercontinental and national flights before 6 am only in special cases. There are only six long-distance flight destinations and Tegel currently doesn’t have any pre 6 am flights in general.

Source: Der Spiegel


3. Inequality in Germany

inequality, germany
Germany has an inequality problem. The regional disparity has been growing for quite a while, even though the law states that the government has to guarantee equal living conditions in all federal states. A study by the Institute of German Economy (IW) now shows that this is not the case.

19 of 96 German regions have grave structural problems. Not all of them are, however, situated in Eastern Germany or flat country, but also densely populated urban areas are affected like the Ruhrgebiet and the Saarland.

Even though the government has been investing money in these regions for years, the outlook isn’t great. Concerning the local economy, Western Germany has problems in Duisburg/Essen, Emscher-Lippe and Bremerhaven.

Eastern Germany is struggling more with a demographic problem. The regions Anhalt-Bitterfeld-Wittenberg, Lausitz-Spreewald, Oberlausitz-Niederschlesien as well as eastern and southern Thüringen have a high age average in the population.

The infrastructure is a problem across the country. The western regions Emscher-Lippe, Trier and Westpfalz suffer from high debts, the eastern regions Altmark, Magdeburg and Halle/Saale from an underdeveloped digital infrastructure. The authors of the study demand, that the regional policies have to be changed as politics has mostly been breaking down the problems to simple solutions. Scattering resources has proven to not be the right approach.

Source: Der Spiegel


4. Politicians demand added value tax on meat

meat, added tax
Agricultural politicians of the SPD and the Green Party demand a higher added value tax on meat. Currently, meat is taxed at 7 percent whereas products like oat milk are taxed at 19 percent. Both parties demand that the meat producers and the food retail trade do their part to guarantee sustainable livestock farming. While the CDU is open to talks, the Linke, FDP, and AfD have rejected such a step.

Source: Der Spiegel


5. Strikes at Lufthansa currently called off

lufthansa, eurowings, strike

Passengers of Lufthansa and Eurowings can for the foreseeable future rely on regular flights. The flight crew union UFO has declared to currently not being able to negotiate new tariffs. Therefore, no strikes will take place.

The union currently counts 15,000 members. They had threatened with strikes in Juni and further reinforced their statements in July. Lufthansa has denied talks with the union for months now.

Source: Der Spiegel


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