Event organizers despair of the German small state

The jungle of corona measures meant that tours had to be canceled. Here federalism shows its deterrent face.

There was great hope that everything would change with the vaccinations against the corona virus, that cultural life could start again, that normality would return and that everyday corona life would become a case for the history books. But Germany is still a long way from that.

The theaters are playing again, the local cultural actors can also be seen again and get their performances, but the nationwide event business is not really getting off the ground. Just recently, Die Ärzte, Peter Maffay and Nena canceled their planned tours almost simultaneously: One of the reasons for this was the different corona rules in the federal states.

Federalism in Germany: Small states are annoying! Glad we have them!

December 2018. 16 school systems, 16 police forces, 16 constitutional courts: German federalism often seems inefficient and outdated, most recently with the digital pact. A look at history shows what makes small states so valuable – at least when they don’t degenerate.

It seems bizarre: the federal government wants to give the states five billion euros to digitize schools – and only then should the Basic Law be changed. The mediation committee is called, a coalition is in dispute – and all because Germany is a federal state.

The constitutionally enshrined division of Germany into federal states was born out of historical experience, has grown over a long time and also shows some signs of use, almost 70 years after the Basic Law came into force.

Why Schäuble sees too many Germans going it alone

Wolfgang Schäuble has been a member of the Bundestag for exactly 50 years, making him the sole record holder. For the anniversary, the CDU politician will basically be with Markus Lanz. He criticizes Germany’s “know-it-all” on many issues, which means that Germany is met with a lack of understanding from many international partners and allies.

As an example, Schäuble cites the discussion about the “One Love” armband at the World Cup in Qatar. This moral exaggeration does not fit the federal government’s gas deal with Qatar. Germany needs this relationship right now. And don’t stick to what other countries would like to dictate.

But even in the debate about the raid in the “Reichsbürger” milieu, an internal contradiction becomes clear. Such a successful search is only possible thanks to a certain level of surveillance of suspects, for example by wiretapping communications. Here Germany must find the right balance between freedom and security. And between security and morality.

It is similar for Schäuble in energy policy. Germany has been going its own difficult path here since Nord Stream 1. But with Nord Stream 2 at the latest, they have moved far too far away from the other Europeans and the Americans.

In Germany, a tendency to know-it-all is spreading. That could be politically dangerous

NZZ. December 2022. Germans don’t tend towards extremism – actually. But in the political and media sphere, know-it-alls and paternalism are increasingly noticeable. Contempt for the normal is a cause for concern.

For a long time, modern Germany was not a country to worry about from a democratic point of view. According to a study by the Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion from this year, 25 percent of Germans place themselves exactly in the middle of the democratic opinion spectrum; 36 percent slightly to the left, 29 percent slightly to the right of this center. That’s 90 percent between center-left and center-right. Actually calming.

Schäuble: Criticism of German know-it-alls

Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) sees German politics as increasingly isolated. The senior president and record holder in the Bundestag urges moral restraint.

50 years in the Bundestag. A number that invites you to become fundamental. And that’s exactly what Wolfgang Schäuble did in conversation with Markus Lanz. “We are world leaders when it comes to moral know-it-alls,” he said on Wednesday evening about the attitude of German politics and society these days.

Poorest states in America

Poverty in America. It’s a concept that shouldn’t be a thing here. I mean we are the richest nation in the world, right? Well, look around today and you’ll see a lot of us are struggling. For many it’s their own fault – lots of us are broke because of decisions we made.

But plenty of Americans live in poverty because of things outside of their control. Perhaps it was a loss of jobs. Or in many cases, it’s the cost of living. Yes, poverty is a complicated issue here in the US. And no matter who is in office, it’s a problem without an end in sight.

Why the inequality gap is growing

For forty years, the U.S.-led global economy has produced an enormous improvement in human welfare. The percentage of the world’s population living on less than $1.90 per day fallings from 42% to 10%.

At the same time, income inequality has surged in countries with advanced economics. Nowhere has it surged more than the United States, where reliance on free-market forces magnifies rewards for those at the top while leaving others behind.

How Germany’s disaster management system works

July 2021. Deutsche Welle. Unlike many other countries, Germany’s civil protection and disaster management system is deeply rooted in communal and municipal structures. The current flood catastrophe has disclosed major shortcomings.

When the first floods hit southwestern Germany last week, local emergency managers were the first to initiate rescue operations on the ground. But it would soon become apparent that the unfolding natural disaster was more than what they could cope with, and that responses would have to be coordinated at a higher level in the emergency chain of command.

It was high time the crisis managers of the affected counties and municipalities took over, coordinating assignments of police, firefighters and paramedics to help save lives and provide assistance where needed.

Germany has a total of 294 counties and 107 self-governing municipalities, including major cities such as Potsdam, Cologne and Leipzig. In big emergencies, county governors can request assistance from other, less affected, regions to pool their crisis-fighting capabilities in task forces. Those are usually set up and run by a regional state government, of which there are 16 in Germany’s federal state-based political system. 

Germany’s nationwide emergency warning day hitches

September 2020. For the first time in almost 30 years, Germany carried out a nationwide emergency warning day. But not everything went as planned. For those living in or visiting Germany on Thursday, things got loud this morning.

At 11 a.m. sharp (0900 GMT) Germany carried out a nationwide test of its civil alarm systems — with everything from sirens to push notifications on smartphones being tested. The test was slated to run for exactly 20 minutes. It’s the first test of its kind since Germany was reunified in 1991.