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Merkel: 'nein' to gay equality on tax and kids
Photo: DPA

Merkel: 'nein' to gay equality on tax and kids

Published: 28 Aug 2012 07:06 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Aug 2012 07:06 GMT+02:00

"I believe that it would be good at this point to wait for the court's decision," Merkel said, referring to a ruling due soon from Germany's constitutional court on whether tax privileges given to married couples should also be extended to gay couples in registered domestic partnerships.

Speaking to public broadcaster ARD on Sunday evening, Merkel said her coalition had done a great deal to improve the legal standing of same-sex partners.

"But whether that must result in the same tax status as married couples, I'm not sure myself,” she said.

Germany's constitutional court is expected to issue a decision next year.

Merkel's coalition government is split over the idea of giving same-sex partners the same tax privileges as married couples. The idea of extending adoption rights to gay couples has also caused arguments within the coalition.

While junior coalition partners the Free Democrats (FDP) are in favour of full equality on both issues, many members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives are far less enthusiastic.

The tax issue has supporters and opponents within Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU). But the idea of gay adoption rights remains deeply unpopular among members of the conservative union.

The German tax system allows married couples to practice "splitting", meaning that husbands and wives pay their income tax on a joint basis, resulting in huge advantages where there is a big difference between their two salaries.

This arrangement does not apply to gay and lesbian couples, who have registered domestic partnerships. Germany does not recognize gay marriage.

Last week Katherina Reiche, state secretary in the environment ministry for the CDU, sparked outrage with her comments on extending tax privileges to gay couples. She said Germany’s future lay “in the hands of families, not in same-sex partnerships.”

And she added that in her opinion, what she called “this demographic development” was “next to the euro crisis, the biggest threat to German prosperity.”

Critics accused her of homophobia and narrow-mindedness.

The Local/DPA/sh

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

08:25 August 28, 2012 by wood artist
Sadly her position mirrors that of the Republicans in the US: We believe in equal rights, except we don't think everyone should have equal rights, especially those people whom we don't agree with.

wa
08:42 August 28, 2012 by freechoice
this is not about equality is more about asserting one own sexual preferences. equality are covered by individuals rights of everybody.
09:40 August 28, 2012 by browndude
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
09:52 August 28, 2012 by Repatriated
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:29 August 28, 2012 by Kim Berlin
It is a worry, that one of the most social progressive countries in the world can still hold such beliefs - people are people. As with any of these issues, if you replace with words "same sex couple" with "black & white couple" or "turkish and german couple" or "french and roma couple" the true intention is revealed.
11:26 August 28, 2012 by JamesBond
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
11:31 August 28, 2012 by AlexR
Even if I (try to) understand Merkel's objections about extending adoption rights to gay couples what's the problem of gay couples getting the same tax privileges like the married ones? This is simply unconstitutional.
11:56 August 28, 2012 by Firmino
It's really sad that gay people are still discriminated against by their own government
12:09 August 28, 2012 by raandy
Mrs Merkel is no different than any other political leader. She speaks to the poll of public opinion. She has deferred this to the courts, not surprising and not over.
13:55 August 28, 2012 by JamesBond
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
16:02 August 28, 2012 by cheeba
The could also achieve equality by removving the tax benefits for straight couples. Then the extra tax revenue can be sent to the PIIGS.

In terms of raising children, there are already special, separate benefits for those raising children.
16:21 August 28, 2012 by IchBinKönig
'Sadly her position mirrors that of the Republicans in the US'

One doesn't have to look as far as the United States to see this type of discrimination. But just like war, corruption and pedophilia; its only bad when a Catholic or a Republican does it.

IBK
16:50 August 28, 2012 by LOrion
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
19:30 August 28, 2012 by cheeba
So, does Frau Merkel play any role in this "demographic winter" you write about? She is straight, has had two husbands, surely there must be six or seven childred?

How many are there?
19:52 August 28, 2012 by Wise Up!
Here's a novel idea; let the citizens vote on it!! It is a democracy afterall.

We do that in the US and guess what - it's failed every time it's tried!! Every state election for gay marriage was turned down! The people don't want it. We are talking about a behavior and not a race.

This should not be left to judges and unappointed beaucrats.

Let the people vote!!

or do you want another dictatorship like the DDR?
19:56 August 28, 2012 by neunElf
Where is the inequality?

I am a heterosexual male and I cannot "marry" a man either.

You have the freedom to live with anyone of your choosing, but you can only "marry" someone of the opposite sex, something YOU CHOOSE NOT TO DO!.

All citizens have the same rights, what you do with them is your choice!
01:37 August 29, 2012 by JamesBond
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
07:25 August 29, 2012 by AlexR
The way that the current German government is handling the issue, is rather hypocritical.

Back in 2009, the Government Program of the new CDU/FDP coalition, stipulated that any inequality of rights between life partners and married couples would be removed. This would essentially codify into law the Federal Constitutional Court's ruling of the same year that all the rights and obligations of marriage be extended to same-sex registered partners. Now, they change course, once again.

Also, the discussion about the tax issue is rather insignificant when you look at the numbers. The registered partnership law came into effect in 2001. Ten years later, according to the German Federal Statistical Office, 23,000 same-sex couples had entered into a civil partnership, i.e., 46,000 people. This represents only a 0.05% of the German population. Does anyone seriously believe that if this 0.05% is given the same tax benefits like the married couples, would affect in any way the German economy?
09:36 August 29, 2012 by JamesBond
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:12 August 29, 2012 by Firmino
Well JamesBond, what you think about it is irrevelant as this is an issue that doesn't afffect you. The fact is there is no reason for gay people not to get married nor getting the exact same tax benefits as straight married couples.
10:34 August 29, 2012 by M Australian
Putting all the bigotry and illogic aside,

The main case in point is that in Germany ALL couples who are in a legally registered partnership (marriage or civil partnership regardless of gender or no. of chlidren) take on a legal responsibility (pflicht) for the other person thus relieving the authorities thereof. This pflicht includes but is not limited to living & housing costs; medical & aged care; even financial and legal liabilty in some instances and so on.

This added pflicht may be offset by two persons being able to lodge a joint tax return. This only benefits couples who have a significant disparity in income and can currently only be lodged by heterosexual couples with certainty. Same sex couples can also do this in some States at the discretion of the Finanzamt or by order of the State Courts. However they risk having to pay back-taxes if the Ferderal ruling is not in their favour.

It boils down to equal rights and responsibilities.

To all those bigots who hide behind a facade of religion, here are a few quotes from the bible to justify why :

Me and all my wives… (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5; Matthew 25:1, Kings 11:1-3)

The ones I kidnapped…(Judges 21:19-25)

My brother¦#39;s widow… (Gen. 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10)

A POW…(Deut 21:11-13)

A prostitute (Hosea 1:1-3)

One I bought (Ruth 4:5-10)

minus the ones executed for not being virgins (Deut 22:13-21)

and all my concubines (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron11:21)

should get Tax equalty and not those sodomites who love and make a commitment to each other.
11:14 August 29, 2012 by brightconnections
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
12:11 August 29, 2012 by TheWonderer
Whether we like or dislike homosexuality - it is a given fact.

It existed ever since, so we cannot "just do away with it" just because some want to.

Whenever two people (of whatever sexual preference) decide to stand in for each other and provide upkeep and protection for each other (be it in marriage, be it in a partnership), society does benefit from that (by paying less for them, the law makes you take certain financial burdens).

So if they have to share the disadvantages in illness and old age, why cannot they have the benefits (tax) as well?

After all, I married my wife, but we did not have children either - despite having the tax privillege. Do we need to pay back the taxes saved?

We live in 21st century - so let's behave like that and stop the prejudices.

A common saying goes: "God's zoo is large!", meaning that there is such a huge variety of all and everything in this world, why make such a mess just because of some people having a differenc concept of life?

After all, two people who love each other and live in harmony are much better that those "pillars of society" who attend mass 3x a week and beat up their wifes at home or molest neighbour's children...

As long as both are of age and act voluntarily - who cares? Or do we start asking about everybody's preferences in his dorm next?

TheWonderer
12:36 August 29, 2012 by AlexR
@JamesBond

"Its not only about the money, its also the principle of the thing. Those of us who think that homosexuals should not be allowed to marry each other bristle at the thought of them being given tax breaks traditionally reserved for married folks."

What "principle of the thing"? Are you even aware about the German low for the registered partnerships, its amendments and the decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany? When you say it's "not only about money but about principles", you've probably haven't read any of the above. A short timeline:

- The law was introduced in 2001. The partnerships initially provided many but not all of the rights of marriage.

- In 2004 the law was amended and currently provides ALL of the rights of marriage, except joint adoption and full tax benefits.

- In 2009 the Federal Constitutional Court has ruled that all the rights and obligations of marriage have to be extended to the registered partners, no matter if they are couples of the same or the opposite sex.

- In the same year, the Government Program of the new CDU/FDP coalition, stipulated that any inequality of rights between life partners and married couples would be removed in accordance to the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court.

Now members of the very same CDU, including their leader Merkel, disagree on what they agreed in 2009. Where exactly are those "principles"?
13:14 August 29, 2012 by JamesBond
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
13:26 August 29, 2012 by Firmino
No, your opinion does not matter. A democracy implies that everyone has equal rights. These rights are inalienable and not open for discussion.
15:06 August 29, 2012 by AlexR
@JamesBond

A democracy has laws, institutions and (sometimes like in Germany) a Constitution. And a hierarchical structure. No one is above the Constitution and no one is above the decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court. Not even the Government or the Parliament.

If the Court has ruled that all the rights and obligations of a marriage have to be extended to the registered partners, then the government cannot get away with interviews and personal opinions. They have to shut up and amend the law to be in compliance with the Constitution.
17:13 August 29, 2012 by JamesBond
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:27 August 29, 2012 by orthotox
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
08:57 August 30, 2012 by Firmino
@ JamesBond. Not the same thing at all. And whatever you or anyone else says, you're on the wrong side of history. Just like people who argued against mixed-race marriage 60 years ago (yeah those were illegal once too). It is inevitable that gay couple will eventually have equal rights, same as anyone else.
10:27 August 30, 2012 by JamesBond
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:31 August 30, 2012 by Firmino
"Degenerate couplings"??? Now you really shown yourself for the bigot that you are.
11:11 August 30, 2012 by JamesBond
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
12:13 August 30, 2012 by M Australian
@JamesBond #25

"Perhaps the illogic on display on the issue is mostly yours. Everyone has a right to be confused but codifying that confusion into law is unhealthy and demeaning for all of us."

I assume logic is not your strongpoint but you do excel at Bigotry :o)
12:56 August 30, 2012 by JamesBond
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:16 August 30, 2012 by LecteurX
@ JamesBond # 31 & 33 - But calling something/someone "degenerate" is as much name-calling, or surely more so, than calling someone a bigot. But never mind this. There's nothing surprising about some people opposing gay marriage, and I don't mind discussing it and hearing their arguments.

I'd like you to tell me where you've seen that "More and more folks" reject same-sex marriages. It's exactly the opposite that is happening in Western Europe and in Western countries in general, even in the US... Here are two links that contend this with all the necessary "citations" referring to opinion polls:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_opinion_of_same-sex_marriage_in_the_United_States

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Europe#Public_opinion_around_Europe

I won't put more because there's a limit on the number of links we can include in our comments... Also, you've said twice, in your comment #25 and again #33, that "there are many reasons" why gay-marriages should be banned. Would you then please tell us which are these exactly? Or at least a few?

Plus, I don't get it what exactly it has to do with a "healthy" society? In which way is the Canadian society is less "healthy" than the US one? Or the Swedish society vs the Latvian one? Is South Africa (with its huge loads of problems) less "healthy" than Zimbabwe or Mozambique? Has the society in Spain, or Norway or Argentina become noticeably less "healthy" since adopting gay marriage?

It is at first sight a very strange argument. Maybe if you explained your views a bit, we would understand better what you mean and would be less inclined to dismiss you with epithets.
16:55 August 30, 2012 by JamesBond
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
18:21 August 30, 2012 by LecteurX
@ JamesBond

I don't understand why you need to give me the definition for "degenerate", I know what it means and I did find approaching terms (notably in the Webster's dictionary which says "sexual pervert"). It's still calling names though, really. You said above (your comment #33) that you "don't hate" homosexuals. See, I've stopped believing you right now, otherwise I'm sure you wouldn't dismiss them as "degenerates" and "perverts", which really are not terms of endearment...

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/degenerate ("an immoral or corrupt person")

http://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/pervert%5Bnoun%5D ("a person who has sunk below the normal moral standard ")

Now, I've asked a couple of doctors and urologists already, and they said nothing about homosexuality being unhealthy. So obviously I did not ask the same doctors you inquired with. So then? Where does that leave us? Who is right? "Your" doctors or "my" doctors? Now, the internet is a treasure trove of info. Maybe you could bring up a credible link that asserts what you just claimed. That would be more factual than just say "ask any doctor", really...

Plus, I can help but notice that you're quite focused indeed on the anal side of things (I won't comment on this, although I should...). How about lesbians then? On which basis would it be so "unhealthy" to be a lesbian? Too unhealthy to be allowed to have lesbian marriage at least?

And actually, even if being homosexual is in any way "unhealthy", it's totally beside the point. Last time I checked, marriage was not a privilege for the "healthy". Not since Nazi Germany at least. The handicapped are allowed to marry. Chronically ill people too. Heck, so do the terminally ill. The mentally ill too. Lots of "confused" people are allowed to marry. You can marry a death-row inmate (a multiple murderer, a cannibal, take your pick). You can marry while drunk in Vegas and divorce 2 days later. Isn't your argument getting very weird?

So your answer is still a far cry from the "many reasons" why homosexuals should not marry to keep the society "healthy". And you have not even begun to explain how Canada, Argentina or Norway are in any way less "healthy" than the US or Germany or Russia or Pakistan or Somalia specifically because of the issue of same-sex marriage. In the top 10 countries with longest life expectancy (very healthy nations), you find 4 countries with full equal marriage rights: Iceland, Spain, Sweden and Canada. Or maybe I misunderstood you on the "healthy" part, but then please explain and try to be non-judgmental.

:-)
19:45 August 30, 2012 by M Australian
@James Bond #35

Actually most normal sane persons would consider the garbage you spew out (opinion would be too kind a word I'm afraid) as bigoted.

But then again maybe delusional may be a more appropriate term.

as for "You might think about saving you're replies in thelocal.de for issues you actually understand."

As a matter of fact I do understand as I'm an academic with a diverse circle of colleagues and friends and yes some of them are Gays and Lesbians.

@LecteurX once again well commented. Alas! it may be a challenge for persons confined within the walls of their own narrow minds to comprehend.
01:22 August 31, 2012 by JamesBond
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
05:32 August 31, 2012 by jimfromcanada
James Bond:

The practice of unsafe sex no matter what your gender or orientation will result in health problems. Gay men are not the only ones who practise anal sex which you seem fixated on. Anal sex is not the only form of sexual activity amongst men.

To address the topic of this forum:

The question of whether homosexual couples should enjoy the same rights, privileges and responsibilities seems to have been dealt with under the law of Germany. The argument that gay couples should not benefit from tax breaks that straight married couples get to allow them to care for children does not make sense because many gay couples also have children in their household.
10:23 August 31, 2012 by JamesBond
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
11:00 August 31, 2012 by LecteurX
@ JamesBond

You continue asserting things without providing evidence. I give you links. You reply things like "ask any doctor" or "google it". Do your own homework. I won't get out of my way to look for the evidence you fail to come up with. In the mean-time, I'll take it your evidence just does not exist.

On your remarkably tedious list of STDs: do you know how many years of life expectancy a regular smoker loses, and how many "health problems" this habit expose them to btw? Does this have anything to do with their ability to marry the person they love?

For the record, I asked you a few simple questions in my two comments above:

-> Where did you read and how can you evidence that "More and more folks" reject same-sex marriages?

-> What are those "many reasons" why you think same-sex marriage goes against the interest of a "healthy" society?

-> What is your evidence showing that countries that have allowed gay marriage are less "healthy" than others or became noticeably less "healthy" since legalizing these unions? These countries tend to be the ones with highest life expectancy but maybe there's something you can show us here?

-> Based on YOUR own argument, what is the case against the right for lesbians to marry since they probably are the least likely people that would be indulging in "anal intercourse" (a practice for which you exhibit a truly fascinating and possibly tell-tale obsession), much less affected by all these STDs and therefore quite healthy indeed?

-> What is the argument against "unhealthy" homosexual men getting married since all heterosexuals can marry, whether they are practically on their death-beds, too drunk to realize what's happening to them, or convicted murderers awaiting execution?

You have eluded anything close to a rational argument on any of these points. You only come up with judgmental answers and derogatory terms like "degenerate", "disgusting", "louche", "perverse". Sorry, that's not rational at all, and that's not the way intelligent people have a debate: it's about providing reasonable answers to reasonable questions, which you are thoroughly unable to do. The case against same-sex marriage is actually so irrational that it won't hold water for much longer in what you pompously call "the civilized world".

Oh, and you quite barefacedly lied about "not hating" homosexuals. In every single one of your posts, you prove the opposite.

Since you are into quoting dictionaries, here's one entry for you: Bigot - "One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ". http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bigot

This brilliantly sums up your attitude. You ARE a bigot. I tried to understand your opinion, but there's nothing logical or rational about it, so I give up.

This conversation is going nowhere. So I'm done with it. Good day to you.
11:15 August 31, 2012 by JamesBond
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:26 September 4, 2012 by TheWonderer
The weekend left me thinking about this on the motorway.

I think some are victims to a logical mistake.

"Family" does nowhere define "man plus woman" - because that's a couple.

"Family" does define "children and parent(s)" - and in that context the sexual orientation does not matter at all - if only they are caring.

A while ago, a study showed that children who grew up in a same-sex partnership where slightly better in school.

The reason is a very simple one: The couples do intentionally decide to adopt or to take children in care - and they do care. In contrast, some of the kids in "normal" families were "accidents" and were not really wanted - which sometimes results in parents not caring enough. The difference was not a big one, but it shows that it is not the orientation of the parents but just the love and care which makes the difference.

At a rough guess, I dare say that kids from those parents are at least much more tolerant.

Therefore: Stop differentiating and accept that there are "those and those".

If we do not accept those partnerships now, who will be discriminated next? Single parents? Handicapped parents? Parents without a college degree?

TheWonderer
13:21 September 5, 2012 by Onlythetruth
Poor JamesBond, he's had every one of his posts deleted. I guess thelocal.de doesn't think much of his opinion or his right to say it. Hmmm.

As JamesBond said before he was so rudely censored, in a politically correct world the the truth is the new hate speech. I see his point.
10:48 September 6, 2012 by LecteurX
And you, "Onlythetruth", I see you joined on 5 September around 1pm... aren't you some kind of suckpuppet?

The "truth" you say? Well, JamesBond really had a chance to explain his "opinion". He could have tried to answer a few simple and reasonable questions without throwing abuse all over the place, you see. He didn't even try. His "point" was just "ewwww, gays, yuck, perverts". Is that what you call the "truth"? Yeah right.

In 30 years from now, you guys will be dismissed as a bunch of losers and bullies, just like those Southern folks or those Afrikaners who staunchly opposed interracial marriage just a few decades ago... And that will be very right.

I'm done with you too, Onlythetruth. I tried to argue with JamesBond and gave up, so I don't think I should give his sockpuppet a chance. Good day to you though.
12:38 September 6, 2012 by Onlythetruth
@ LecteurX

"ewwww, gays, yuck, perverts" - is that a quote? :-)

Its clear that not only are you into fabrication but also into censorship.

So your dream is that 30 years from now homosexuality will be completely accepted. That was the dream of a former homosexual colleague of mine who was in the habit of describing himself and his liaisons as "advanced ". Nice guy but very confused.

In my opinion JamesBond laid out his reasons why homosexual marriage and tax equality is not in the best interests of society and you failed to dispute those in any meaningful way but rather descended into name calling. It seems to me that you might have personal issues with this subject as this conversation seems a bit close to the bone for you. If so you have a hard road to hoe and you have my sympathy and good wishes.
18:01 September 6, 2012 by LecteurX
@ Onlythetruth - Ha-ha. That's brilliant. You created your profile yesterday afternoon on this platform and immediately went on to comment on a mostly forgotten 9-day old article. Not only that, but of all 45 previous posts, you chose to defend JamesBond's comments that had got deleted long before your profile existed. Surprising, eh? Smells of sockpuppetry up to the skies. And you come to tell me I have "personal issues with the subject". I love the irony of it all...

I did not censor anything. I had left this senseless discussion and JamesBond to his own devices. Actually, I did not even "report abuse" on his comments. I let them be and just ignored him. As we say in Germany, der Klügere gibt nach.

All my comments, quite unlike JamesBond's, are still there for everyone (including you) to see. Where do you see any "name calling" from me, pray tell? (or not, I don't care). There was absolutely nothing logical in JamesBond's explanations. As you can see, I asked him the same very simple and reasonable questions three times. He never answered any of them, so really there was no way to have a grown-up debate the way intelligent people normally do... All along, he just repeated stuff like "degenerate", "confused" (which you just used here, surprise, surprise), "disgusting", "louche", "perverse". Several times over. So yes, the plain meaning of that is "ewwww, yuck, perverts". This is no "fabrication", just understanding the meaning of simple words.

This discussion with JamesBond was already quite pointless. And it's very obvious to me that you're just JamesBond anyway, with another login. So really, it's becoming just ludicrous. I hereby declare that I stop wasting my time with JamesBond and his sockpuppets on this site.

I wish you lots of fun creating fake identities on forums, and a great time doing so!
01:06 September 7, 2012 by Onlythetruth
Oh, I thought you were done commenting LecteurX and here you come again with quite a long post making the exact same silly accusations. I can see JamesBond touched a nerve. He can't respond so I'll conjecture what he would have said on his behalf. Perhaps he won't mind.

You may not have liked the adjectives Bond used but they are certainly legitimate words. He was simply calling a spade a spade which seems to offend you. I didn't take away "yuck, perverts" from his articulate posts which I was fortunate to read before they were censored. I saw words like dangerous, disease, shortened life span in addition to the ones you so flagrantly mischaracterize, all of which you prefer to ignore despite their obvious applicability. Whats funny is that you insist he do your homework for you listing sources for you - information as indisputable, intuitive and true as the fact that water is wet, no matter how you howl. Look them up for yourself.

Yes, LecteurX, discussion becomes quite pointless when you are cornered. I wish you lots of fun pretending that you have in any way proven James Bond's assertions false. I can't say that we all will look forward to your further posting on this thread but hear from you again here I'm sure we will. In the meantime I wish JamesBond all the best and salutations for his enlightening and insightful postings.

By the way, sock puppet is two words, not one. And a red herring at that as we all know.
15:27 September 7, 2012 by Firmino
Do you expect us to believe Onlythetruth and JamesBond aren't the same person? How cute!
03:11 September 8, 2012 by Onlythetruth
Why is that important?
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