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

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Today in Germany: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
A train travels on the route between Ulm and Wendlingen. Photo. picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Weißbrod

Finance Minister slams the brakes on budget negotiations, German MP apologises for social media post on footballers' skin colours, DB presents plans for a new ICE route in Swabia, and more news from around Germany on Friday.


Finance Minister rejects calls for compromise in budget debates

As the governing coalition parties clash over next year's budget, Finance Minister Christian Lindner has reiterated his unwillingness to take on additional debt in order to avoid spending cuts. 

"You don't have to lift the debt brake, you have to stop this distribution policy," he told The Pioneer on Thursday.

"We don't have a revenue problem - we will soon exceed the one trillion euro mark in tax revenue per year. It's about shifting in the budget away from consumption and the past and towards investment and the future."

On Wednesday, Lindner had signalled that the government could miss its July 3rd deadling for finanalising a draft budget for the coming year. 

The Finance Minister is pushing to maintain the constitutional debt brake, which caps borrowing at 0.35 percent of GDP per year. However, with an estimated gap of between €25 billion and €50 billion between Germany's tax intake and planned spending, this could mean severe cuts that several departments are unwilling to sign up to.

READ ALSO: Germany's coalition government in deadlock over 2025 budget

Bundestag Vice President apologises for social media post on footballers' skin colours 

Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt, of the Greens, apologised and deleted a tweet commenting on the skin colour of the German national football team's players after criticism. 

Shortly after the German team's 2-0 victory against Hungary in a Euro 2024 match on Wednesday, the Green politician wrote on X: "This team is really great. Imagine for a moment if there were only white German players." She included several rainbow emojis in her post.  


However, Göring-Eckardt received major backlash, with many accusing her of racism. 

After later deleting the post, Göring-Eckardt said she was referring to a survey published a few weeks ago by the WDR program "Sport Inside," which found that one in five respondents would prefer if the German national team had more "white" players.

In an apology tweet issued on Thursday she said: "I was upset that 21 percent of Germans would find it better if there were more 'whites' in the national team. I'm proud of this team and hope that we can still convince the 21 percent."

Extremism researcher Ahmad Mansour wrote in response: "Anyone who addresses the skin colour of the players in the German national team is engaging in racism, regardless of the motivation behind it."

House prices continue to drop in Germany, official figures show

The prices of residential property in Germany continued to decrease in the first quarter of 2024, new figures from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) show.

Compared with the same period in 2023, prices were down by an average of 5.7 percent across Germany. 

It signals a drop in prices compared with the respective quarter of the previous year for the sixth consecutive quarter. 

Compared with the fourth quarter of 2023, residential property prices were down 1.1 percent on average in the first few months of this year. 

READ ALSO: Is it a good time to buy a home in Germany?

Transportation sector emissions could cost Germany billions

Failure to meet climate protection targets in the transport sector could prove very costly for German taxpayers, according to a new study by Transport & Environment (T&E) that was announced Thursday.

The German government abolished its sector targets for emissions reductions earlier this year, following threats about possible driving bans by Transport Minister Volker Wissing.

READ ALSO: Has Germany avoided 'driving bans' by loosening its climate rules?

But according to T&E, a European organisation for clean transport, emissions reductions at the EU level still apply and shortcomings could result in hefty fines.

T&E analysed the drafts for the national climate plans (NECPs) and concluded that without immediate measures, twelve EU countries will miss their national climate targets, with Germany and Italy faring the worst.

Traffic jams on German motorway

Traffic jams build on the motorway between Hamburg and Flensburg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Axel Heimken

The German government alone would have to spend up to €16.2 billion on emissions certificates if it stays on its current course.

This would hit the federal government hard, as it currently has to plug a €40 billion euro hole in its budget for 2025.

The transport sector is primarily responsible for Germany's failure to comply with EU climate protection commitments.


Meanwhile, the sales of new electric cars fell in Europe in May, car manufacturers announced Thursday, while the number of hybrid vehicles rose. While the European Union plans to ban the sale of combustion-powered cars by 2035, electric car sales have been sluggish since the end of 2023, mainly due to a lack of affordable models.

Deutsche Bahn to present new plans for Augsburg-Ulm route

After more than five years of planning, DB is presenting its recommendations for the new ICE route between Augsburg and Ulm on Friday afternoon.

The new high-speed line is intended to replace the existing long-distance route, which is now around 170 years old.

"The route between Ulm and Augsburg is one of the busiest routes in southern Germany," DB said in a statement. It is part of the European main line from Paris to Budapest, and in Germany the route is important for connections between Munich to Stuttgart.


The expansion should reduce the journey time between Augsburg and Ulm from the current 40 minutes to less than half an hour.

READ ALSO: What to know about Deutsche Bahn's summer service changes

DB planners have been analysing a number of route options since 2019. At the end of May, the regional government in Swabia finalised the regional planning procedure and declared three main variants to be possible, while two of the options were shelved.

With reporting by Paul Krantz and Imogen Goodman



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