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Today in Germany: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Today in Germany: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Popular food items in Germany displayed in a shopping cart in Neubiberg, Bavaria. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

Companies struggle to fill job vacancies, inflation slips again, icy roads cause travel disruptions and more news from around Germany on Thursday.

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Icy roads cause disruptions amid strikes in northern states 

As Germany continues to battle frosty conditions, the German Weather Service (DWD) has issued another icy weather warning until 11am on Thursday.

According to a DWD spokesperson, the snowfall in most regions of Germany is only the beginning: "The winter weather is continuing and it's getting colder," they said.

With the continuing low temperatures and frost, transport incidents have continued around the country. 

On Wednesday evening, a Eurowings aircraft skidded off the runway at Hamburg Airport due to black ice. The aircraft, which had arrived from Stuttgart, was unable to gain purchase while trying to come to a standstill, a Eurowings spokeswoman explained. No one was injured and operations at the airport are continuing as normal. 

In three other northern federal states, the road maintenance depots are to go on strike on Thursday, potentially adding further misery to local commuters.

READ ALSO: Winter storms and snow plunge Germany into travel chaos

In Lower Saxony and Bremen, the Verdi services trade union called on road maintenance workers to go on a 24-hour warning strike from 6am in the dispute .

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Meanwhile, in Schleswig-Holstein, Verdi called on employees at the state road construction and transport company to strike. 

German inflation drops to 3.2 percent in November

German inflation slowed further in November, preliminary data showed Wednesday, offering a glimmer of hope for Europe's biggest economy as it struggles through a period of weakness.

Consumer prices rose 3.2 percent year-on-year, down from a reading of 3.8 percent the previous month, according to federal statistics agency Destatis.

This was the lowest level for inflation since June 2021.

Euro notes in a glass jar

Euro notes in a glass jar. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Christin Klose

It was a steeper drop than expected by analysts surveyed by financial data firm FactSet, who predicted a reading of 3.4 percent.

A heavy year-on-year drop in energy prices "had a particularly dampening effect on the rate of inflation", Destatis said. 

Food prices also did not rise as much compared to the same month last year, it said.

Core inflation - excluding volatile food and energy prices - slowed to 3.8 percent from 4.3 percent in October.

READ ALSO: What has caused inflation in Germany to slow to 3.8 percent?

Poland takes Germany to EU court over illegal waste

Poland's government said Wednesday it had filed a complaint against Germany with an EU court, accusing its western neighbour of having failed to clean up waste deposited illegally on Polish territory.

The case concerns 35,000 tonnes of waste shipped illegally by German firms to seven different locations in western Poland in 2013-2018.

"Poland has filed a complaint against Germany with the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for failing to fulfil its obligations under EU law," the Polish environment ministry said in a statement.

Last month, Poland brought the matter before the European Commission - the EU's executive arm -- which sided with Warsaw regarding the Tuplice site containing more than half of the waste.

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"Germany has failed to comply with its obligations... by failing to take back, within the 30-day time limit, the waste from one location," the
Commission said at the time.

The opinion from Brussels paved the way for Warsaw to submit a case to the court.

"Despite its initial written assurances to the European Commission, the Federal Republic of Germany has taken no action to ensure that the waste is removed," Poland's environment ministry said.

"As a result, the matter is still not resolved and the lingering waste poses a constant threat to the environment. That is why Poland decided to file a complaint with the CJEU," it added.

Half of German companies have vacancies to fill

A new survey by the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) has found that one in two companies currently have open positions, highlighting the desperate need for workers in Germany's ailing economy.

Construction and manufacturing were the hardest hit sectors, but businesses in almost all sections of the industry reported that they were in need of staff. 

"The skilled labour situation remains very critical," said DIHK Deputy Managing Director Achim Dercks in the Skilled Labour Report presented on Wednesday. "Some sectors are not only talking about gaps in skilled workers, but about a general shortage of labour."

Steel worker from Gambia

A skilled worker from Gambia hangs steels sheets for surface treatment on a conveyor belt in a factory. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jan Woitas

Information from more than 22,000 companies was analysed for the report, which currently estimates that 1.8 million jobs remain unfilled. According to the report, this means that more than €90 billion in added value will be lost to Germany's economy this year.

READ ALSO: The German industries most desperate for skilled workers

More than half - 55 percent - of businesses surveyed said they would consider hiring non-EU nationals, but want to see language courses and simpler procedures for foreign workers.

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"Months of waiting for a visa appointment, documents getting stuck in the post, a lack of contact persons at the immigration office - all of this must be a thing of the past," said Dercks.

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Bjorn Hansen 2023/11/30 09:21
Make English the official business language in Germany, thus the vacancy problem would then be history in no time! It could as well make the country a more likely contender for skilled individuals with families to be residing permanently. The German language is the main reason people shy away from committing.

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