Displaying items by tag: Germany
A budget crisis in Germany has struck at the heart of the ambitions of the ruling Green Party within the coalition government led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The crisis centres around a significant budget shortfall, partly caused by the Greens' ambitious climate policies and the economic impact of the Covid pandemic. The Greens had planned to invest heavily in green initiatives, but the financial constraints have forced them to reconsider and scale back their plans. The crisis has also highlighted tensions within the coalition, with the Greens pushing for increased borrowing to fund their projects, while others are concerned about the country's fiscal stability. Chancellor Scholz faces the challenge of finding a balance between green policies and economic responsibility.
During a visit to southern Tanzania, German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier apologised and asked for forgiveness for colonial-era killings during Germany’s rule. He vowed to raise awareness of the atrocities in his country, in a step towards ‘communal healing’ of the bloody past. Tanzania suffered under German colonial rule for decades, and saw one of the region’s deadliest uprisings from 1905 to 1907. During the revolt, known as the Maji Maji Rebellion, between 200,000 and 300,000 Indigenous people were murdered by German troops. Steinmeier said Germany was ready to begin a ‘communal processing’ of the past, as he met with descendants of an executed leader of the revolt. In contrast, on a state visit to Kenya, King Charles III expressed ‘deep regret’ for the ‘abhorrent and unjustifiable’ acts of violence committed during the 1952-1960 Mau Mau revolt, in which 90,000 Kenyans died, but stopped short of apologising or proposing reparations. See
On 18 October two people threw Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in Berlin, as anti-Semitic violence escalated in Europe. The attacks came after Hezbollah called for a ‘day of rage’ over the explosion at a hospital in the Gaza Strip, where hundreds of people are feared dead. The Central Council of Jews said that ‘day of rage’ was not just a phrase but ‘psychological terror that leads to concrete attacks’. The synagogue also houses a community centre, a kindergarten and high school for 130 children. One local said, ‘We knew it was only a matter of time and it's not the end.’ Jewish institutions typically have ongoing police protection in Germany, and reports suggest officers were at the scene when the attack happened. Hours later, police briefly detained a man who approached the building on a scooter, then ran towards the synagogue shouting anti-Israel slogans.
Politicians across Europe have been encouraged by the result of the Polish election on 15 October - especially in Germany, the favourite target of the ousted Law and Justice (PiS) party. A German MEP said, ‘I expect that Poland will become a constructive partner and that the change in government will strengthen its standing in Europe’; and Katja Leikert, a Christian Democrat MP who sits on its foreign relations committee, said the election results ‘give hope’ to Europe. German-Polish relations have suffered in recent years. Foreign minister Annalena Baerbock had sought to improve relations last year, travelling to Warsaw on Germany’s national day as a sign of respect for an important ally and neighbour. Instead of welcoming the gesture, however, the PiS leaders formally demanded that Germany pay €1.3 trillion in war reparations. Russia’s reactions to the election results were less enthusiastic: see
As the new school year begins in Germany, the biggest problem is still the nationwide shortage of teachers. This could be remedied, for example by employing career changers, having larger classes, and using more hybrid lessons (partly online). But this increases the risk that the existing teachers may suffer illness or even resign and makes the general atmosphere and conditions for the students to learn well in lessons more challenging. In addition, due to measures introduced during the Covid crisis, learning deficiencies and mental illnesses have increased significantly among children and young people. The fear of being infected by Covid has now been replaced by fears about climate change and the apocalypse (the world coming to an end). These take away motivation and willingness to learn. The building of a world for tomorrow requires not only discipline, but above all a vision.
Germany’s last three nuclear power plants were closed on 15 April. Its car industry has been the market leader for decades. Now production of diesel and petrol engines will end, and gas and oil heating systems will not be installed in homes. Current prosperity, welfare, and economy are being run down and replaced with higher-grade technologies for which technical and personnel replacements are not readily available. Increasing chaos on the railways illustrates the incompatibility of political demands with the current state of infrastructure and the available staffing levels. The political agenda also fuels disruptive actions by climate activists and strikes in the public sector and in state-owned companies. Germany has been entrusted with much historically: the gospel of Jesus Christ, a country of poets and philosophers, a nation with economic stability. Pray for God’s purposes for Germany, not based on history's materialism but on #its God-given identity as a nation.
German Cardinal Gerhard Müller and American Cardinal Raymond Burke want the Vatican to put Germany's Roman Catholic bishops on trial for abandoning church doctrine and approving Church blessings of same-sex unions and weddings between divorced Catholics. Cardinal Mueller wants all German bishops who voted to bless same-sex unions to be held to account, tried, sentenced and then removed from their office if they are not accepting the Catholic doctrine. Cardinal Burke has publicly clashed with Pope Francis before and is seen as the leader of the church's conservative wing. He wants sanctions against the German bishops under the Code of Canon Law. British Anglican Chaplain to the late Queen Elizabeth, Gavin Ashenden, said it isn’t just German Catholic bishops who are revising church doctrine; there was an issue of lack of faith across Europe. Polish and Nordic archbishops are also challenging Germany’s path. See
Christine Lambrecht was widely criticised for failing to improve Germany's notoriously ill-equipped armed forces despite the provision of €100bn (£88bn) for that task following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. She was mocked for announcing Germany was supporting Ukraine by sending 5,000 military helmets and has resigned following a series of blunders. Ms Lambrecht was due to meet other defence ministers from Ukraine's western allies at the American military base in Ramstein to discuss further support for Ukraine. Berlin is under rising pressure to send Ukraine Leopard 2 tanks - which Ukraine considers vital to defeat Russia - or at least approve their delivery from countries such as Poland. Warsaw signalled its intention to supply the battle tanks but requires permission from the country of manufacture. Germany’s Vice Chancellor recently said his country would not stand in the way of other nations sending Leopards.
There is a shortage of skilled workers in the hotel industry, maintenance and repair, health and safety services, day care centres and schools. Nationwide there are 100,000 child care and 40,000 teacher positions vacant. There are many causes: higher birth-rate, immigration, increase in all-day care services, increasing requirements for social inclusion and language training, and inadequate preparation for the large number of workers from the 1960s baby-boom generation who will retire in the 2020s. Teachers, trainers, educators and carers, under stress due to heavy workloads, are taking time off due to illness. Germany’s education system needs a fundamental overhaul to equip children for life in the coming decades. Many of the teaching methods and educational materials are antiquated and no longer suitable to give children a healthy identity, self-confidence, assertiveness, team spirit, joy and resilience for the demands of the current world.
One million Ukrainians have fled to Germany since Russia's invasion. On the outskirts of Berlin, almost 1,000 people sleep in giant heated tents on a former airport runway. The German capital is struggling to house Ukraine's refugees properly. As winter deepens and Russia continues attacking Ukraine's energy infrastructure, authorities are hastily preparing more emergency shelters in anticipation of up to 10,000 more Ukrainians. Germany initially extended a warm welcome, but there are now growing concerns about how best to accommodate such a large number of people. Around 100 Ukrainians arrive every day at the main refugee reception centre in the airport terminal. Workers in brightly coloured tabards lead them to departure halls filled with trestle tables offering food, medical aid and a bed for a ‘temporary’ stay. But many will stay in bunks in shared cubicles or tents for longer than a few days. Permanent accommodation is getting harder to find.