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

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Today in Germany: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Farmers from Poland block both lanes of the Autostrada A2 (Europastraße 30) at the German-Polish border on Monday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Patrick Pleul

Polish farmers begin new blockade on German border, rail disruption around the Ruhr, mixed reaction to CDU's Bürgergeld proposals and more news from around Germany.


Polish farmers launch new blockade on Germany border

Polish farmers blocked two major border crossings with Germany on Monday in a protest against farm imports from outside the European Union and the bloc's environmental red tape.

Farmers have been blocking checkpoints with Ukraine, complaining that imports from the neighbouring war-torn country undercut their profits, and now expanded the protest to the country's western border.

The two blockades at the Swiecko and Gubinek crossings "will continue until Wednesday evening", a spokesman for the local police, Marcin Maludy, told AFP.

The farmers have parked their tractors on the A2 highway, blocking traffic in both directions.

Polish farmers last month briefly blocked the border with Germany in Slubice, with the passage currently open but congested as drivers divert from the clogged routes.

Train disruption in western Germany 

People travelling by train between the western Ruhr area and the Rhineland will face major disruption from 9pm on Friday because Deutsche Bahn is closing the Duisburg junction for construction work. 

Many local trains will be cancelled completely for a fortnight and replaced by buses, while long-distance ICE trains will be widely rerouted.

This has an impact on many cities in the Ruhr area - especially during a time when many people are travelling. Deutsche Bahn said the closure during the Easter holidays was necessary for several construction projects.


No long-distance trains will stop in Duisburg, Essen, Oberhausen, Mülheim and Düsseldorf Airport during the closure until April 8th. In local transport, most commuters between Essen, Oberhausen, Duisburg and in some cases as far as Düsseldorf will have to change to replacement buses.

The construction work will also affect ICE connections in Cologne, Düsseldorf Central Station, Essen and Dortmund.

The important route in the Ruhr area was already closed during the autumn holidays last year - and the company has also announced a two-week closure there in summer (July 22nd to August 2nd).

The aim during this closure is to modernise bridges and replace overheard lines, among other planned work.

READ ALSO: Easter travel - are German train strikes set to end?


Lufthansa plane from Frankfurt makes emergency landing in Greece after smoke in cabin

A Lufthansa flight with 190 passengers on board made an emergency landing Monday in Rhodes after reporting smoke in the cabin, according to the operator of Greek regional airports, Fraport.

The pilot of the aircraft travelling from Frankfurt to Dubai requested permission to land on the southern Aegean island due to "the presence of smoke inside the plane", said Fraport.

The passengers were safely evacuated from the aircraft, which was undergoing a technical and security inspection for what is suspected to be an electrical issue, it added.

Fraport did not specify the type of aircraft, but according to the flight tracking website Flightradar24 it was an Airbus A330.

Mixed reaction to CDU's proposals to shake up Bürgergeld 

The opposition Christian Democrats (CDU) on Monday unveiled a proposal to reform and tighten Bürgergeld, Germany's long-term unemployment benefits. 

Critics say it's an attack on the welfare state, but employer representatives support the idea. 

German Employers' Association head Rainer Dulger said: “We need a fundamental overhaul of the Bürgergeld system,”

The CDU wants to see more binding requirements and sanctions on welfare recipients. But many oppose the proposal. 

“It is unspeakable that this debate is again fuelling prejudices against people on basic income support,” said the head of the German Social Welfare Association (SoVD), Michaela Engelmeier.

The SPD, the Greens, the Left Party, the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) and the Workers' Welfare Association also voiced their disapproval, with some accusing the CDU of attacking the welfare state. 

READ ALSO: Bürgergeld - What to know about Germany's unemployment benefits shake-up


Germany says Putin re-election was a vote 'without choice'

Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Monday dismissed Russian leader Vladimir Putin's re-election as a vote "without choice" after all genuine opposition was crushed.

The election process shows "Putin's heinous behaviour against his own people", Baerbock said at a meeting in Brussels. "The election in Russia was an election without a choice."

With reporting by Rachel Loxton


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