News Bites

Weimar’s art festival opened today, celebrating 100 years of Bauhaus with shows and exhibitions about the design movement that started there.

Berlin and Athens agreed that Greece will take back refugees who have already registered in the Mediterranean country, as Germany toughens its asylum policy.

The Montenegrin premier, Duško Marković, visited German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday. The pair discussed the criteria and prospects for Montenegro to join the EU.

Ms. Merkel said there wouldn’t be a repeat of the 2015 influx of refugees into Germany. In Saxony, where people oppose her policy, the chancellor emphasized that rejected asylum seekers would be deported faster.

A record 4.6 million people took part in an EU survey about whether clocks should go forward in summertime.

Verdi, a German labor union, called for a nationwide contract to stop wage dumping in the eldercare sector.

Bavaria’s commissioner for anti-Semitism wants to set up an Israeli-Bavarian foundation for young people, which would include a helpline and an ongoing round-table discussion to address prejudice.

Chancellor Merkel rejected calls to speed Germany’s exit from lignite coal for power generation, echoing the coal board’s concerns about the impact on workers.

The German Bishops’ Conference rejected accusations that Catholic churches hadn’t been transparent enough about cases of sexual abuse, after politicians said some hadn’t opened their archives for a study.

After seven illegal repatriations this year, Green Party politicians said too many people are being wrongfully deported. The German government is trying to bring back five of them.

Germany’s Bundeswehr will send 8,000 soldiers, 200 tanks and 2,000 vehicles to the Trident Juncture NATO maneuver in Norway that runs October 25 through November 7.

German politicians continue to argue about the return of Sami A. after he was deported despite a court ban. He is suspected of having worked for Al Qaeda as a bodyguard but could face torture in Tunisia.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin outside Berlin on Saturday. They will discuss Ukraine, Syria, and natural gas, and likely also Trump, the US trade war and the situation in Turkey.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer’s new draft for an immigration law was greeted by business and politicians alike, amid a shortage of skilled labor and given Germany’s aging population.

Niger, one of the refugee transit countries in Africa, wants more military aid from Germany. President Mahamadou Issoufou asked for help in combating terrorism and organized crime during a visit to Berlin. (Reuters)

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immigration law, Horst Seehofer's vision for German immigration


Seehofer makes a German immigration plan on his terms

Germany may finally have an immigration law. As the shortage of skilled labor grows, Berlin would like to cut red tape for jobseekers.

Bin Laden ‘bodyguard’

Court orders deported terror suspect Sami A. be returned to Germany

The court’s decision to bring back the alleged Al Qaeda sympathizer from Tunisia pits politicians against judges in a case that stretches “the limits of the rule of law.”

Wired for trouble

Germany seeks to avert renewables overload by expanding the power grid

Economics Minister Peter Altmaier is pushing for rapid expansion of Germany’s power grid to cope with the switch to renewable energy. Don’t hold your breath.

Rain or shine

Germany’s renewable energy production defies fickle weather

The recent unpredictable weather is a reminder of renewable energy's variability, prompting coal proponents to argue Germany shouldn't abandon conventional fuels. But heat waves don't play favorites.

New bestie

Spain’s Sánchez gives Merkel badly-needed backing on migration

With immigration critics challenging her authority in Germany and across the EU, Chancellor Angela Merkel found an ally during an informal meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

Diplomatic License

Our honorary diplomat in Düsseldorf-Mörsenbroich

Honorary diplomatic titles sound like something out of a Ruritanian comedy. But demand remains strong, as Germany’s 500 honorary consuls show.


Immigrants’ benefit claims for children in home country raise German concerns

A sharp increase places burdens on cities, while providing incentives for fathers to leave families at home and seek work in Germany.

Thirty Years' War

Lessons of the Westphalian Peace for the Middle East

Four centuries after catastrophe in central Europe, German scholars and policymakers revisit the Thirty Years' War to find lessons for today’s Syria.

Dark web

Child sexual abuse case reignites data retention debate in Germany

Investigators say they need tools available from a data law bogged down in legal challenges.

takeover veto

Berlin planning limits on Chinese investment

Stealth acquisition in gas and utility networks is spurring plans to lower the threshold at which the government can veto foreign takeovers of sensitive German firms.

Serve or serf?

Germany debates return to conscription

An ally and potential successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed reintroducing mandatory national service in Germany. Voters like the idea, but politicians are split.


Liability insurance, as common in Germany as Brötchen and Angst

Most Germans carry more insurance than foreigners would expect. The most common, and most recommended, is personal liability insurance.

sand wars in germany, sand shortage

Not on my beach

The great German sand shortage

Germany desperately needs more sand for industry. But a lack of planning foresight, the politics around mining sites and the needs of coastal communities are making the search ever grittier.

Tourist trap

Fears a deal will turn Checkpoint Charlie into a Disney-style attraction

There’s prime real estate around Berlin’s Cold War border and politicians say the city council secretly struck a deal over the site where Russian and US tanks once faced off.

‘Anchor’ centers

Germany tightens asylum as Bavaria opens new processing centers

In addition to the opening of seven facilities for asylum seekers across Bavaria, a new law restricting family reunification for migrants took force on Wednesday.

News gallery

In case you missed it

Fighting for the swimming pool in Berlin, ousting austerity in Athens and "anchoring" asylum seekers in Bavaria.

hot flash

How the heat is affecting German agriculture, business

Farmers are already asking for €1 billion in domestic aid and consumers may soon complain about the rising price of pommes.

no returns

Negative interest rates eat into Germany’s social security funds

Germany’s public pension and health care funds have amassed billions of euros and should be able to earn a good return on their capital. But negative interest rates are making this almost impossible.

health insurance cards, germany

Handelsblatt Explains

Why Germany’s two-tier health insurance system is so complicated

The German health insurance system has evolved into a strange mix of public and private companies. In some ways, it’s effective; in other ways, surprisingly flawed.

#MeTwo germany and racism


Tales of everyday racism in Germany on Twitter spark discussion

A young activist launched the hashtag #MeTwo in the wake of the Özil row to launch a long-overdue discussion on racism in Germany.

germany brexit plans

Hoping for a deal

Germany drafts plans for Brexit transition

The German foreign ministry's proposal for a smooth ride through Britain’s transition phase, from March 2019 through 2020, would allow for dual citizenship even after Brexit.

handelsblatt explains

German political parties

Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats have started coalition talks with the Free Democrats and The Greens to form a new government. What do these parties stand for?

Sayonara Donald

Berlin turns to Japan to forge anti-Trumpism pact

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wants an “alliance of multilateralists” in defiance of Donald Trump's America First policy. Japan, snubbed once too often by the US president, is on board.

Start talking

Germany welcomes US-EU truce on trade, but remains wary

German politicians reacted with positive surprise to a trade truce between Donald Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker, and the prospect of “zero tariffs”. But for the EU’s export powerhouse, action needs to follow words.

skilled workers

Berlin preparing an immigration law at last

With economic growth under threat, Germany is ready to stop muddling through and draft an immigration law. Labor Minister Hubertus Heil is hacking through the bureaucratic jungle and working on the practicalities.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

Much about Germany is confusing or surprising to foreigners - and even to Germans. Our editors provide clarity.