Tag Archives: German

Photo: The remains of East Germany, 30 years after it ended | World | Instant News

A woman stands in a destroyed and abandoned villa built in 1900 near Eisenach, eastern Germany, Monday, September 21, 2020. Thirty years after Germany reunited on October 3, 1990, many of the once dilapidated urban centers of the former east Communist. it was painstakingly restored and new factories sprang up. But many companies and facilities cannot survive a sudden transition to capitalism, inefficient companies find themselves struggling to compete in a market economy, while demand for eastern products plummets and outdated facilities are closed. (AP Photo / Michael Probst)


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Germany And America Still Need Each Other | Instant News

One of the great successes of American diplomacy has been the transformation of Germany from one of our greatest enemies to one of our closest allies. That success was crowned thirty years ago when the United States helped Germany achieve the peaceful reunification of their divided country.

Germany and America have become indispensable partners. Our societies remain closely tied to one another culturally, politically and economically. Our economy forms the heart of a $ 5.6 trillion transatlantic commercial relationship employing more than 15 million people. Our two countries are at the heart of our alliance through NATO, our partnership with the European Union, and efforts to build a Europe which, in the words of former President George HW Bush, can truly be “whole and free”. When we agree, the German-American partnership has often been a driving force behind international efforts to tackle global challenges. If we disagree, we often become brakes for such efforts.

Thirty years later, the German-American partnership went through a period of transformation and redefinition that was likely to have major implications for both sides of the Atlantic.

First, the societal foundations of our partnership are shifting. Americans as a whole have a fairly positive view of Germany, but they pay little attention to German domestic dynamics and are confused by the complexities of the European Union. Many Germans, in turn, have little connection or understanding of the new community active in US domestic and foreign policy debates. They are regularly struck by the twists and turns of American society. Generational divisions are also visible. Many older Germans identified with America, which contained Soviet power, ensured German security, promoted European reconciliation and integration, and served as stewards of Germany’s peaceful unification. Many young Germans have another association: the Iraq War, Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, NSA surveillance, greedy capitalism, rampant gun violence, withdrawal from international commitments, suppression of migration, and endemic racial injustice.

The consequence is that Americans expect more from a united Germany at a time when Germans expect less from America. The biggest transatlantic deficit we face today is not an imbalance of trade, digital divisions or military capability, but disparities in sentiment, concern, hope and trust.

This social dislocation was magnified by the changing role that our respective countries played in Europe. Germany, historically a source of anxiety, gradually became a source of assurance, while the United States, which had traditionally been a source of assurance, suddenly became a source of anxiety.

Germany, a country that was once the epitome of European division, is once again at the heart of a continent undergoing extraordinary changes. Even before the arrival of COVID-19, Germany’s role was significant. It has been ranked the world’s most admired country in the last three Gallup annual polls. Its continental influence has been strengthened by the British decision to leave the European Union. Its economy continues to boost European prospects. Its response to the coronavirus is faster and safer, and recovery is likely faster, than most of its neighbors.

Historically, Germany’s heavy burdens have radiated uncertainty. Today, the challenge of bending German history is to use its centrality to generate confidence for Germans and their neighbors. Berlin’s decision this year to overcome its strong aversion to budget deficits to help less fortunate European partners help save the continent from a potential historic collapse. Yet many Germans are preoccupied with self-doubt and uncomfortable with the potential costs and consequences of this important role.

In the past, the United States assured both Germany and its neighbors of Germany’s increasing weight. Today, however, Washington is a source of discomfort. America is moving away from its traditional role as a European power, comprehensively involved in the continent, supporting its allies and committed to tackling common challenges. It only becomes a power in Europe, engaged selectively, more destructively than stakeholders, more focused shed the burden rather than sharing it.

This transformation has brought German-American relations to a seven-decade low, just as sharper global competition demands more, not less, from Europe and America.

Thirty years after Germany’s peaceful unification, Germans and Americans can both be proud of our common achievements. But we cannot be complacent. The window closes on our ability to make our partnerships as transformative for the future as they have been in the past. The human foundation of our relationship needs to be cared for. We cannot allow a Europe that could be truly intact and free to return to a continent that is yet again fractured and restless. And each of us has an interest in turning our attention to global challenges that will not be mastered by us alone.

Unfortunately, it remains an open question whether Americans can muster the patience, and desire of the Germans, to rediscover their partnership for this uncertain new era. The elections held by our respective countries in the coming year will tell the story.

Daniel S. Hamilton is a Distinguished Fellow of the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation and Director of the Woodrow Wilson Center Global European Program.

Image: Reuters.


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A national public transport strike causes disruption in Germany | Instant News

Buses and trains have been stalled in many German cities and regions since the early hours of Tuesday, as transport workers went on strike to support their demands for national labor regulations.

Berlin, Hamburg, the Hanover, Magdeburg, Kiel and Erfurt regions, have been disrupted by the strike. In Munich, Constance and Freiburg, employees in the public transport sector are also planning to quit their jobs.

Transportation companies are asking their customers to stop unnecessary travel on Tuesday morning and switch to another means of transportation.

In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, students with long trips to school have been exempted from lessons on Tuesday if their bus or tram is not operating due to a warning strike.

The Verdi trade union on Friday called a commemorative strike amid calls for a nationwide collective agreement for some 87,000 public transport sector employees.

Employers have so far refused to agree to uniform work regulations, which will replace the patchwork system that has emerged for years in 16 federal states.


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Germany: National transit strike hits passengers | News | DW | Instant News

Local public transport was disrupted across Germany on Tuesday morning as workers went on strike.

Job stoppages hit passengers in the capital, Berlin, as well as other major cities, including Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich and Leipzig. Other regions and cities across the country were also affected.

Germany’s second largest union, Verdi, is calling for a strike. He wants a national uniform collective wage agreement for some 87,000 transportation sector employees.

In ongoing talks, employers have so far refused to agree to replace a patchwork wage system and different regulatory agreements across 16 federal states.

The operator of the Deutsche Bahn intercity train and other intercity travel was not affected by the strike.

Read more:

‘Clueless’ for a striker

“That employers don’t even want to negotiate making fun of employees and stopping any attempts to achieve a turnaround,” was the reason for the strike, reported German public broadcaster ARD, quoting Verdi chairman Christine Behle.

KAV Berlin, an organization representing the interests of employers, said it “had no understanding” of the strike warning because transport sector workers in Berlin received a salary increase last year of up to € 102 million ($ 119 million).

Read more: Many German companies ignore their partners’ human rights violations

In Hamburg, the strike will last until noon on Tuesday

How did the strike affect German cities?

In Berlin and Hamburg, public transport sector workers plan to go on strike until noon on Tuesday, disrupting morning commutes.

Metros, trams and buses have all been affected by the strikes in the two cities.

The regional public broadcaster Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg tweeted from the Berlin exchange station Südkreuz: “Tuesday morning and nothing happened.”

Local transport company Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe tweeted that they regretted the inconvenience and hoped to start transportation as soon as possible after 12 noon local time.

About 30,000 employees of a local transport service have been called on strike in Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia according to Verdi.

In NRW’s main city, Cologne, with a population of more than 1 million, the strike will last 24 hours. Transportation will return to normal at 3am local time on Wednesday.

“I can understand, but it’s annoying that I can’t work,” reported public broadcaster Westdeutscher Rundfunk, quoting a commuter in the city of NRW Dortmund who was also affected by the strike.

Further strikes

Germany has seen a series of strikes over the past few days by public service workers, including municipal cleaning staff, child care workers and public order officials. The strike came ahead of a third round of talks with employers to negotiate a 4.8% wage increase.

Read more: Sri Lankan Ceylon tea workers live under a legacy of exploitation

kmm / dr (AFP, dpa)


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Germany: Eastern states allied against neo-Nazi property deals | News | DW | Instant News

Interior ministers from Germany’s five eastern states pledged a concerted effort Monday to prevent far-right extremists from exploring the property and rental markets. The aim is to set up an early warning system to stop the spread of the right-wing network.

“Extreme right thinking does not stop at regional borders,” said Thuringia Interior Minister Georg Maier, saying the state needed an exchange of information and to encourage landlords to “get closer” to potential tenants.

“Where real estate ends up being run by far-right extremists, structures are strengthened and networks created,” Maier said.

In 2011, Germany was surprised by the disclosure at The NSU terror group, responsible for 10 racist murders. The three members of the center operate in exile, first from Chemnitz in the state of Saxony.

Read more: How the German media disappointed the victims of far-right NSU terror

Holger Stahlknecht of Saxony-Anhalt of the Christian Democrats (CDU) Chancellor Angela Merkel said right-wing preppers and the so-called “Reich citizens“must be prevented from settling in the new location. The Reichsbürger rejects the legitimacy of the German government and insists the 1937 border still exists.

Germany’s domestic intelligence service, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, noted that the extreme right acquired 27 properties last year in Saxony alone.

Relocating rock concerts

Saxony Interior Minister Roland Wöller said right-wing rock concert organizers – operating under Germany’s liberal freedom of assembly law – often move events on short notice. The tactic aims to make it difficult for the police.

Its job, said Wöller, is to support the small rural authorities who normally handle applications for such meetings. A quick overview is required.

Read more: Rightmost groups standing in eastern Germany

Banning right-wing concerts or neo-Nazi festivals is not an optional method, Georg Maier added, but rather a specially designed provision issued by local authorities.

Brandenburg state Interior Minister Michael Stübgen, also of CDU Merkel, said sharing information on right-wing trends and structures was “absolutely necessary”.

ipj / rt (KNA, epd, dpa)


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