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

The Local Germany
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Today in Germany: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
An ICE train covered in snow at Munich main station. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Karl-Josef Hildenbrand

More travel restrictions in southern Germany, coalition struggles to reach consensus on 2024 budget and more news from around Germany.


Snow to cause further travel restrictions on Monday

Travel restrictions are expected to continue in southern Germany on Monday after heavy snowfall over the weekend brought chaos to large parts of the region, closing Munich airport and main train station and heavily impacting road travel.

Operator Deutsche Bahn has asked people to postpone travelling on Monday, if possible, as not all long-distance routes will be operating and services are likely to remain severely disrupted.

There were no trains in or out of Munich's main train station early Sunday morning, but some long-distance services towards Nuernberg and Stuttgart resumed over the course of the day.

READ ALSO: Flights cancelled and trains disrupted after heavy snowfall in Munich

The S-Bahn and regional services will also be impacted with tracks expected to gradually improve over the next few days.

Most of the trains between Munich, Weilheim and Garmischer Raum will be cancelled on Monday and there will still be no services between Munich and Salzburg/Innsbruck and between Munich and Lindau/Oberstdorf.

Munich's airport reopened on Sunday morning after closing on Saturday due to the weather, but hundreds of flights were cancelled. Other airports, such as Hannover, Bremen and Memmingen, also saw cancellations.

The airport advised travellers to check their flight status on Monday before travelling to the airport. 

"It is not yet possible to predict how the situation will develop in the coming days," the airport said on its website.

Bavarian's avalanche warning centre said there was a considerable avalanche risk – or warning level three out of five – for the Bavarian alps, explaining that even a single skiier or snowboarder could trigger an avalanche.


"Overall snow depth is above average at all levels for this time of year," according to the centre.

However, the risk is expected to reduce over the next few days.

Germany struggling to reach consensus on 2024 budget

Germany's traffic light coalition – SPD, FDP and Greens – are currently negotiating to reach a decision on the 2024 budget, but welfare spending cuts remain a sticking point.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens) and Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) need to agree on what to do next after the Federal Constitutional Court ruled an earlier budget reallocation to the climate and transformation fund null and void, effectively creating deficits of billions of euros.

READ ALSO: Schuldenbremse: What is Germany's debt brake and how does it affect residents?

Lindner says €17 billion is needed for the 2024 budget.

The social sector is one of the major cost blocks that the coalition are discussing, with the government currently spending 45 percent of its budget on social issues, according to Lindner. 

If the coalition want to decide on the budget this year, they'll need to reach an agreement by Wednesday's cabinet meeting, although the budget will not be formally passed by Parliament until next year.


Germany condemns 'abominable' fatal knife attack on German in Paris

Germany on Sunday condemned the weekend stabbing that killed a 23-year-old German tourist in Paris by a man known to authorities as a radicalised Islamist with mental health problems.

"The Islamist knife attack on a young man near the Eifel Tower in Paris is an abominable crime. Our thoughts go to the family and friends of the victim, and to the others wounded in this terrible act," Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told the Funke media group in an interview.

Two other people were injured in the attack which happened at around 9pm on Saturday in the 15th arrondissement of Paris in the city centre.

READ ALSO: Islamic State attack in Paris - what we know so far

Union and FDP against long-term unemployment payment hike

Long-term unemployment payments (Bürgergeld) are set to go up by 12 percent in Germany in 2024, but the opposition CDU/CSU and the FDP, which is part of the coalition government, are against the increase. Meanwhile, the CDU/CSU wants to limit those eligible to receive it.

More than five million people will receive the increase, with those living alone receiving €563 a month from January 1st.

The sharp increase is partially due to the fact that 2024's calculation took account of inflation to a greater extent than previous adjustments due to a change in the rules.

READ ALSO: Bürgergeld: Germany's monthly unemployment benefit to rise by 12 percent


"The coalition should postpone the planned increase by a year and start again from scratch," Bavarian state premier and CSU head Markus Söder told Germany's Stern magazine on Sunday.

"It takes more motivation to go to work. This is why we will introduce an initiative in the Bundesrat to overhaul unemployment payments... Anyone who works must receive noticeably more than someone who doesn't work. That's why we need changes," he said. 

Meanwhile, CDU Secretary-General Carsten Linnemann said that in the event of a new government, the party want to considerably cut unemployment payments to young people who reject job or training offers.

"Anyone who could work, especially at a young age, but consciously doesn't and takes advantage of the system, would have to expect a 50 percent cut or more instead of a 30 percent reduction," he told German daily Tagesspiegel.



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