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Germany

Yearbook 2010

2010 GermanyGermany. The Constitutional Court in February rejected a contentious law on support for long-term unemployed. The fixed compensation levels that applied after one year's unemployment, equal to all, were sentenced as arbitrarily set. The law was part of the multi-year reform package Agenda 2010, which aimed to reduce government spending. The government was commissioned to find a new solution.

In the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia in May, Christian Democratic CDU and liberal FDP lost power. The Social Democratic SPD also backed down somewhat but was able to form a minority government with the Greens, which has progressed strongly. Support was promised by the Left Party Die Linke. The result was seen as a defeat even for the bourgeois federal government; the election in Germany's most populous state is usually seen as an important value gauge for national politics. The bourgeoisie also lost its majority in the Federal Council, the parliament's first chamber, where the 16 states are represented.

2010 Germany

On May 31, President Horst Köhler resigned unexpectedly, four years in advance. He was upset over sharp criticism of him following statements about German participation in Afghanistan. Köhler had spoken of German export interests as a motivation for military operations. One month later, CDU candidate Christian Wulff was elected new president. Wulff won in a third round of votes over SPD's and Green's candidate Joachim Gauck. The president, who mainly has ceremonial duties, is indirectly elected by a special parliamentary assembly.

A techno party in Duisburg in July ended in tragedy. An uproar and panic ensued at a long tunnel that was the entrance to the festival area, and 21 young people perished in the congestion. Police and organizers were criticized for lack of security.

An intense integration debate was triggered by an immigration-critical book in which author Thilo Sarrazin criticized Muslims for not wanting to integrate. He also argued about heredity and intelligence that many found offensive. The criticism prompted Sarrazin to leave his post on the board of central bank, Bundesbank. The Social Democrats' party board also discussed excluding him from the party.

According to COUNTRYAAH, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement in the debate that multicultural society has failed and that immigrants need to integrate better. But she also stressed that Germany needs immigrants: the country's low birth rates are lower than death rates, while emigration during the year was greater than immigration.

The Sarrazine business contributed to continued difficulties for the SPD, which made a lousy choice a year earlier. Instead, they had the green wind in their sails and in an opinion poll in September received support from as many as SPD: 24 percent of the voters.

The green rise was partly due to the nuclear energy issue. When the government in September tore up a resolution on winding up to 2020, the reactions became strong. The opposition intended both to turn to the Constitutional Court and try to get a referendum on the issue. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Berlin against the decision. When nuclear fuel waste was to be transported to the village of Gorleben for final disposal, the usual protest actions became unusually extensive. The train delivery was delayed by several days through blockades and some sabotage. Clashes occurred between police and protesters.

Merkel's CDU also struggled with falling opinion figures. One reason was criticism from taxpayers for having to sponsor "wasteful southern Europeans" in connection with the crisis in several euro area countries. Pressed by public opinion, Merkel took a tough stance in the EU and at a summit in October, among other things, pushed through demands for a new revision of the EU constitution.

However, the economy in Germany was robust. A savings package called the largest since the war was adopted in June, with savings of € 80 billion over four years. At the same time, growth was the strongest in almost 20 years, although it slowed to the end of the year. Unemployment then stood at 7 percent, the lowest figure in 18 years.

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