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Germans prosecutors push for Puigdemont extradition


German prosecutors are preparing the paperwork to extradite former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont back to Spain on charges of rebellion and disturbance of the peace. A German court ruled on 22.5.2018 that Puigdemont, who was detained by German police in March, cannot be rearrested because he does not pose a flight risk. However, the state’s prosecutors want to send the former regional president back to Spain in the light of new video evidence which they say shows “violence perpetrated against the Spanish police forces.”


Germany to roll out mass golding centres for asylum seekers


Germany’s policy to embed new arrivals in communities across the country is being reversed as a populist backlash builds against the chancellor’s handling of the refugee crisis. But the transit centre in Manching  has experienced high crime rates, mass protests and rising tensions between asylum seekers and security forces, the Guardian found during a visit.The converted army compound is part of a complex in Upper Bavaria and holds about 1,100 people, mainly from the west Balkans, Ukraine, Nigeria and Afghanistan.  Critics say the new centres create a double-bind on those inmates at the transit centres who have realistic chances of being granted asylum: while they are actively hindered from integrating into German society while their application is pending, they are expected to immediately integrate as soon as they get the all-clear.

Protests about seemingly small issues like food are often actually protests about the conditions in these centres as a whole. The main source of troubles is that the people inside have no perspective and aren’t allowed to work. The inability of the migrants inside the centre to engage themselves in the community was also stoking resentment and prejudice among the local population.

Merkel defends the increase of military spending in Germany to 2% of GDP


Germany will increase its military spending to 2% of the GDP. Germany will adapt in this way to what Donad Trump has asked for in NATO since he arrived at the White House, despite the fact that the Berlin government continues to describe as “errors” several of the US military decisions, such as the abandonment of the nuclear pact agreement with Iran. Merkel, who did not advance specific deadlines for these increases in defense spending, reassured with these statements certain concerns arising from the German general budgets for 2018.

After the presentation of the budgets of 2018, the Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen did not hide her disappointment and had requested by letter to the heads of Finance of her Government an increase of the budgetary allocation of her department. The Minister of Finance, the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, seems to have imposed his discretion on military spending and the conservative von der Leyen has acknowledged that, in that case, Germany will have to put an end to the missions abroad that it has carried out in recent years and focus on defense inside the country.

Germany supports Albania on the road to EU integration


“Albania can continue to support Germany’s support and support,” German State Minister for European Affairs at the German Foreign Ministry Michael Roth said in Tirana today. At a press conference after meeting with Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati, Roth stressed that “Albania’s path towards the European Union is difficult, but it is a road that is ultimately worthwhile and in the past years Albania has marked a number of achievements important. In the foreground are the achievements that have to do with the strengthening of the rule of law democracy system and its independence, “he underlined.

“The federal government is verifying all these achievements and in co-operation with the Bundestag we will be positioned in the future for the opening of these negotiations. The arguments for opening negotiations are certainly not lacking, the prospect of EU membership for all Western Balkan countries, and especially for Albania, is in the interest not only of Albania and Albanians, but in our own interest and we must explain this our citizens, “said Roth.Speaking of vetting, Roth stressed that “the vetting process is unique in character and serves as a model for Western Balkan countries.

Germany denies deal to give Israel UN council seat


Germany has rejected accusations that it has violated a presumed 10-year agreement that provides for Israel to stand as candidates without a disagreement in obtaining a seat at the UN Security Council. The agreement referred to was signed when the Jewish state joined the regional group of Western Europe and others (WEOG) at the UN, and it included a promise not to oppose Israel if it applied for one of the non-permanent posts reserved for the regional group, but Germany denies that this commitment has been made. Israel, Germany and Belgium are competing for the two seats reserved for the regional group in the General Assembly elections to be held on 8 June. Overall, five seats are up for grabs for a period of two years, but three are reserved for Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region.

To win the election to the council, the candidate countries must obtain a two-thirds majority in the assembly of the 193 nations. While on the one hand Germany has been actively working for its sixth election for years, Israel has been working behind the scenes for over a year, but according to a recent report it seems to have decided to abandon the attempt because it failed to muster the necessary majority. Israel is one of the 66 nations of the world that have never had a seat on the body; beating Germany and Belgium for the coveted position would be an important result for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whose goal is to erode the great automatic majority that makes the Council unbalance against Israel.

Germany: scandal about exhaust fumes tests on humans and animals reaches Volkswagen top managers


The emissions scandal at Volkswagen will cost a high-ranking group manager the office. Thomas Steg, former spokesman for the Federal Government and today chief lobbyist of the automaker, is giving up his post for the time being. He had offered his release itself, said Volkswagen. The board had agreed to that on Tuesday. Steg was released as a general representative for the group “until the complete clarification of the events of his duties”. With his leave of absence pulls Volkswagen according to own data “first consequences” from the controversial exhaust gas tests, which were recently publicized. Nitrogen dioxide is the focus of the emissions issue. For years, Volkswagen had been manipulating diesel test results in the US in order to cover up the fact that the limits for harmful nitrogen oxides had been exceeded many times over. The group said it would continue to work on the investigation of the controversial emissions tests. “We are in the process of thoroughly examining the work and to draw all the necessary conclusions from it,” said Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller. “Mr. Steg has declared to take full responsibility”.

Russia to revise its position on Donbas if it finds occupation of Ukraine disadvantageous – Volker


Russia will reconsider its position on Donbas when it comes to the conclusion that occupation of Ukraine’s territory is no longer in its interests, but so far Moscow continues to deny its direct involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker has said. The Minsk agreements are very important. Firstly, they are a tool confirming Russia’s adherence to the restoration of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. This is very important. The reintegration of these territories into Ukraine – and this is part of the Minsk agreements – should become the basis of a Security Council resolution. Secondly, the Minsk agreements have all elements needed for this – a ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons, local elections, amnesty for those who took part in the military conflict, and a special status for eastern Ukraine, which must be secured in the Constitution of Ukraine, Volker said in an interview with Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle, which was released on Wednesday, January 24.

Schulz is working on the turnaround


The grand coalition is unpopular with the SPD base. Party leader Martin Schulz fights for every vote at the SPD congress that will take place in Bonn next Sunday. Shortly before the beginning of a meeting with party delegates, he praised the political results of the exploratory talks with the Union.
For Schulz, instead, dealing with his party is more complicated. Many of his party colleagues reject a new grand coalition. In Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Berlin, the delegates spoke against a new alliance with the CDU and CSU. Now Schulz has to convince the doubting delegates in North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Rhineland-Palatinate this week to give up their opposition to coalition negotiations by Sunday’s party congress.
The party leader fights for every vote, his political future largely depends on whether a grand coalition comes about. But the conditions are tough: the party’s younger generation mobilizes against it.
Despite the criticism on pensions, refugee policy and jobs Schulz defends the exploratory results with the Union.

Germany: from March, refugees with limited protection status can again apply for family reunification


Union urges SPD to further suspend family reunification for refugees. From March, refugees with limited protection status can again apply for family reunification. The Union wants to prevent this and is now putting pressure on the SPD. It is a central issue in the probe of a possible new grand coalition: but the Union wants to persuade the SPD. The family reunification for refugees is suspended until mid-March and while CDU/CSU want to extend it further, the SPD refuses it. Meanwhile, on the third day of explorations between the Union and the SPD for a new Grand Coalition government, further agreements are emerging. The negotiating partners agreed, on a law for the management of skilled labor immigration to Germany.

Germany: Union and SPD want to conclude their exploratory talks this Thursday


Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has warned the Union and the SPD to make progress in their talks on a new government. Steinmeier said that “the formation of a government is the number one topic of discussion, here in Berlin and throughout Germany – all eyes are on the parties and their top representatives.” Union and SPD want to conclude their exploratory talks on Thursday. On Friday, the SPD leadership will meet to decide whether to recommend the start of coalition negotiations. If a SPD party congress planned for January 21st agrees, real coalition negotiations could finally begin four months after the general election.
Since last Sunday, CDU, CSU and SPD are already conducting exploratory talks. Progress has been made in several working groups – such as in business, transport and digitization.
Now that the paper on economic and transport policy has become public, the debate on consultaions is likely to continue.

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