by Ares Kalandides
As every Saturday here is my weekly pick of the German news. Today:
1. Mapping the extreme right in former East Germany
2. German business optimistic about the future while figures draw a different picture
3. Tax reductions, state income deficits and income distribution in Germany
4. Berlin real estate market is more attractive than London
5. Immigration to Germany creates a new population boom
6. Land grabbing in Brandenburg
1. Mapping the extreme right in former East Germany, Der Spiegel
The above map shows the percentage of the far-right party NPD in municipalities in former East German states. It is particularly strong in Mecklemburg-Vorpommern, where it received over 20% in 25 municipalities. The relative absence of the NPD in Brandenburg (i.e. in the state surrounding Berlin) may be explained by the strong presence there of another far-right party – the DFU.
See the graphic at Spiegel Online: http://www.spiegel.de/international/a-878468.html
2. German business optimistic about the future while figures draw a different picture, Der Spiegel, 25th January 2013, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, 31st January 2013
The German industry is optimistic about the future. The “ifo economic climate index” rose for a third time in a row. 7000 managers of the German industry asked are optimistic both in the short and the long-term. This is quite surprising, given that the end of 2012 the crisis was back with a vengeance. In November 2012 aggregate orders in the German industry shrank by 1.8 % in relation to the month before. From August/September to October/November there was a growth of 1.6 %. In the same period internal demand shrank by 0.1 % for the fifth time in a row, while external demand grew by 2.8%, most of which came outside the Eurozone ( +4.7 %).
Read both articles here:
3. Tax reductions, state income deficits and income distribution in Germany, TAZ, 26th January and Handelsblatt 28th January 2013
The tax experts of the Left party in Germany (Die Linke) have calculated the income that the state lost between 1998-2011 because of tax reductions at 235 billion Euro. The loss was 17 billion for the municipalities, 81 for the federal state and 137 billions for the states. What the Left has calculated are tax reductions in property tax, corporate tax, tax on capital yields, business capital tax, income tax and inheritance tax. Against that they have calculated the rise of VAT. Measures that the Left considers fair, such as the rise of tax exempt amount and child allowance have not been calculated. On the contrary, says Axel Troost from the Left, state expenditure, calculated against inflation, has remained unchanged. All in all, concludes the report, tax changes in Germany have contributed to a redistribution of income from the poor to the rich.
It is interesting to note that this growing inequality is not visible in calculations of average wealth. That is why the Handelsblatt insists that Germans have become richer in the past year, since average wealth has risen substantially.
You can read the article on the Tageszeitung here: http://www.taz.de/1/archiv/archiv/?dig=2013/01/26/a0139
You can download the full report (in German) here: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/22984273/%22Staatsschuldenkrise%22_und_Handlungsfaehigkeit_der_oeffentlichen_Hand-3..pdf
4. Berlin real estate market is more attractive than London, Die Welt, 29th January 2013
A report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) und the Urban Land Institute, Emerging Trends in Real Estate, shows that German real estate is directly affected by the financial crisis. Investment in real estate goes to the countries and cities deemed more stable, Munich, Berlin and London being at the top three positions of the city ranking. London is back from the 10th position in 2012, to the 3rd. This trend entails a huge increase in prices, which in Berlin is particularly stressed in the housing sector.
You can download the PwC report here: http://www.pwc.de/de_DE/de/finanzdienstleistungen/real-estate/assets/emerging-trends-in-real-estate-europe-2013.pdf
An atlas of rent prices in Berlin can be downloaded here: https://www.gsw.de/files/1213/5877/5420/WMR_2013_DE_WWW.pdf
5. Immigration to Germany creates a new population boom, Der Spiegel
“Despite a low birthrate, the population in Germany is growing because of increasing immigration from other European Union countries. For the third year in a row, more people came to the Germany than left it in 2012. This development balances out the natural population decline from deaths and fewer births of about 200,000 a year. If the trend continues, population forecasts will have to be corrected upwards significantly. On average, immigrants are younger than Germans. And they are more likely to have a secondary education than they used to be. After they come, most look for jobs in the major cities and their surroundings”
Read the whole article on Der Spiegel: http://www.spiegel.de/international/reversing-population-decline-germany-s-new-immigrant-influx-a-880038.html
6. Land grabbing in Brandenburg, Frankfurter Rundschau, 30th January 2013
More and more speculators, in particular from West Germany and abroad, buy agricultural land in Brandenburg creating huge oligopolies. This development is disastrous for local farming businesses (usually the successors of former East German LPGs, i.e. Agricultural Production Cooperatives). But even individual farmers can not afford to buy or keep land, as prices have risen by 132 % in the East, as opposed to only 19% in the West.