‘Sexist’ party song stirs political debate in Germany

A debate over a "sexist" summer party song heated up in Germany on Wednesday after the country's justice minister waded into the row.

The city of Würzburg has banned the song Layla at the Kiliani festival.
The city of Würzburg has banned the song Layla at the Kiliani festival. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Karl-Josef Hildenbrand

“Layla” by DJ Robin and Schürze has been at the top of the German singles chart for almost three weeks and has been a hit at traditional summer festivals across the country.

The song includes the lyrics: “I’ve got a brothel and my madam’s name is Layla / She’s prettier, younger, sexier.”

Earlier this week, authorities in Würzburg said they had banned the song from being played at the Bavarian city’s annual Kiliani summer festival.

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann spoke out against the ban, which was trending on Twitter on Wednesday under the hashtag #Layla.

“You don’t have to like pop song lyrics. You can even find them stupid or tasteless. But to ban them officially, I think, is one step too far,” he
tweeted on Tuesday.

The Junge Union, the youth wing of the conservative CDU-CSU alliance, had also come under fire for playing the song at a regional party conference in Kassel last month.

Rival Social Democrat lawmaker Sophie Fruehwald accused the youth organisation of “sheer sexism” and said it showed the party was not serious about promoting women.

The song’s video features two young male revellers arriving in a new town, where they are led to the eponymous Layla – represented in the video as a man in drag.

But this queer twist does nothing to detract from the message, music expert Michael Fischer from the University of Freiburg told Der Spiegel magazine.

“Of course the song is sexist,” he said.

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EU ministers urge unity after Germany’s energy ‘bazooka’

EU finance ministers on Monday pleaded for unity after Germany announced a €200 billion plan to help German households and businesses pay for high energy prices, amid accusations that the EU's biggest economy was acting alone.

EU ministers urge unity after Germany's energy 'bazooka'

Europe is struggling with historically high energy prices as it faces an early autumn cold snap and a coming winter almost certainly to be endured without crucial Russian gas supplies because of the war in Ukraine.

Many EU countries have announced national programmes to shield consumers from the high prices. But Germany went the furthest on Friday when it announced its mammoth plan, which will see help pouring to Germans for two years.

Arriving to talk with his eurozone counterparts, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner insisted the spending was “proportionate” to the size of Germany’s economy and said his goal was to use as little of the money as possible.

READ ALSO: Germany to spend €200 billion to cap soaring energy costs

But Germany’s largesse rankled several EU capitals, some of which feared their industries could take severe blows while Germany’s sits protected, deforming the EU’s single market.

Outgoing Italian prime minister Mario Draghi has slammed Berlin for its lack of solidarity and coordination with EU partners.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, without directly criticizing Berlin, called on partners to agree a common strategy against the price shock and for countries to refrain from going it alone.

“The more this strategy is coordinated, united, the better it is for all of us,” he said.

Risk to ‘European unity’

Others pointed to the unprecedented solidarity shown in the Covid-19 crisis in which the 27 EU nations, against all expectations, approved a jointly financed €750 billion recovery plan.

“Solidarity is not only on the German shoulders, I think this is something that we have to deliver at European level,” said EU economics affairs commissioner Paolo Gentiloni.

“We have very good examples from the previous crisis on how solidarity can react to a crisis and also reassure financial markets. I think that this is our goal,” he said.

While a Covid-style recovery plan is not in the cards for now, Le Maire said €200 billion in loans and €20 billion in aid should be devoted to REPowerEU, a programme to help countries break their dependence on Russian gas.

READ ALSO: Will Germany set a gas price cap – and how would it work?

Bruegel, a highly influential think tank in Brussels, called the German plan a spending “bazooka” that many EU countries were unable to match, creating a potential source of animosity.

“If the German gas price brake gives German business a much better chance to survive the crisis than, say, Italian business, economic divergences in the EU could be deepened, and European unity on Russia undermined,” it said in a blog.