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Merkel sees ‘much broader scope’ for cooperation with Biden

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday there was far more common ground to work together with Washington now that Joe Biden has replaced Donald Trump in the White House.

Merkel sees 'much broader scope' for cooperation with Biden
Angela Merkel on Thursday. Photo: DPA

Merkel said Germany and Europe were ready to do their part to address a range of issues in the transatlantic in-tray including the coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis and security threats with the new administration.

“There is a much broader scope of political accord with President Biden,” Merkel told reporters, citing his return to the Paris climate accord and the World Health Organization and his openness to migration as examples.

However she noted that observers expecting them to see eye-to-eye on all issues of transatlantic importance would be disappointed, saying there would of course be “debates about how we can do things well for both countries”.

“Biden represents the interests of the US, I represent those of the Federal Republic of Germany,” she said.

But she pledged to heed the calls pre-dating Trump for Germany and Europe to do more to foster global security particularly on defence.

“You hear everywhere people rightly saying that Europe will have to take on more responsibility, that means not only militarily but also in the diplomatic arena and many other areas,” she said.

“But the good news is that we in Germany are ready to do that, the EU is also ready to,” she said.

Merkel said such debates would now take place on a “broader foundation of shared convictions”.

READ ALSO: Merkel looks forward to 'new chapter' with Biden

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TRAVEL NEWS

Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

It's official - people in Germany will get cheap public transport for three months this summer after the €9 ticket was approved.

Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

As part of a host of energy relief measures to cushion the cost of living crisis, the German government is offering cheap public transport for the months of June, July and August. 

Monthly tickets will be available at a price of €9 (or €27 for all three months) and they will allow people to use all buses, trains and trams in local and regional transport throughout the country.

So even if people buy the ticket in Munich, they will also be able to use local and regional buses, trains and trams elsewhere in Germany, whether it’s Hamburg or Cologne. 

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

The ticket will not be valid, however, on long-distance transport such as ICE trains or Flixbus.

The offer was put together by the coalition government – made of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the FDP.

The Bundestag voted for the initiative on Thursday, agreeing to give federal states a subsidy of €2.5 billion to fund the project. 

And on Friday, the Bundesrat – the upper house of parliament that represents the states – gave the green light to the ticket, paving the way for it to begin on June 1st. 

States had wanted an extra €1.5 billion funding boost to deal with lost revenue, however it would have been hugely controversial if they had blocked it.

READ ALSO: German states threaten to block the €9 ticket in the Bundesrat

During a debate on Thursday, federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) said the €9 project was “already a success”.

“All of Germany is talking about local public transport,” he said, adding that it is also being viewed with interest abroad. 

READ ALSO: ‘Fantastic’: Your verdict on Germany’s €9 ticket

The Left party (Die Linke) voted in favour of the €9 ticket, but leader Bernd Riexinger said he thought the plan didn’t go far enough. “Three months is simply too little,” he said.

The opposition, however, slammed the move. Christian Democrat Michael Donth called it an “expensive experiment”.

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn will offer the ticket for sale as early as Monday. Local public transport providers across the country are also preparing their ticket machines for the initiative. It will also be available in travel centres.

People with subscriptions to local transport will automatically benefit from the offer. 

In some regions, such as Stuttgart and Freiburg, the ticket is already available for purchase.

READ ALSO: How to get a hold of the €9 ticket in Berlin

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