#120: Dual citizenship, Ringbahn chaos, late mail
And how many of y'all are getting married
I was beginning to doubt they were going to do it but our federal traffic light coalition in December will submit legislation to make it easier for you and me to get German citizenship while maintaining our current citizenship, according to The Local. Right now it’s only possible with certain exceptions or really good connections.
The bill would still have to pass a few hurdles but could be law as soon as the summer. Then we’d get to do the one thing we’ve all gotten good at — fighting German bureaucracy — and then we could become one of them. Apparently you begin vocally criticizing complete strangers the second your fingers first curl around that brown passport.
A man from the business-friendly FDP even told The Local he thinks immigrants should be able to qualify after just three years living among the Teutons if — and this is a big if — you learn sufficient German and integrate. I always bristle at the word “integrate” because it’s not like Germans are spending a lot of time integrating with each other. I always feel like they’re saying: “I don’t want to hang out with Ludwig or Gertrud, you do it.”
However, we are heading into a winter with very poor visibility — governments around Europe are sliding to the right and although there is no election in sight, there are tiny cracks in the current coalition. The FDP (who rule together with the center-left SPD and environmental Die Grüne) lost their seat in the regional Lower Saxony parliament after a drubbing in the Oct. 9 election there, which the party blamed on being part of the ruling coalition (though I’d say it was their bad takes on environmental policy coupled with their wholly unlikeable leader, Christian Lindner).
The FDP have a history of torpedoing coalitions at Christian’s whim. If the coalition fell apart, it’s likely our dreams of speeding through the EU line at the airport would as well. This is unlikely but they removed “unlikely” from the dictionary in 2020 and it doesn’t look like it’s returning any time soon.
We’ll keep an eye on it all for you — you just go and enjoy your weekend.
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Berlin corona and other stats for Friday, October 21
New cases in one day: 2,999 (3,304 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 4,882 (+14 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 443.5 (415.6 Tuesday)
🔴7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 21.8 (21.1 Tuesday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 6.1% (5.1% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
The return of the mask
FFP2 masks are likely to again become mandatory in stores and museums starting Oct. 29, according to the Tagesspiegel — Berlin’s parliament is expected to pass the necessary legislation Tuesday. The city’s health minister hoped to get the legislation through this week but politicians first wanted to wait for meetings with colleagues from neighboring Brandenburg as well as a huddle of federal politicians yesterday. Everyone’s nervous about increasing hospitalization numbers but mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) — now politicking ahead of February’s election re-do — said she wants to meet with doctors from the Charité hospital before making a final decision.
The Ringbahn too? Just ride your bike
First it was the U2, then the U9 and now the Ringbahn. Riders between Bundesplatz and Beusselstrasse will be subjected to the most hated word in the German language — Schienenersatzverkehr (bus replacement service) — from Oct. 21 to Halloween (Oct. 31) because of construction. The S45 and S46 will also be replaced by buses. Frustrating, but just try to focus on how good it will feel to get back on the train on Nov. 1. And BTW: starting Nov. 7 the U6 won’t run between Kurt-Schumacher-Platz and Alt Tegel for over two years.
No, the mail isn’t here yet
It’s not just you: Deutsche Post has been delivering your mail erratically this year. The Bundesnetzagentur — the agency overseeing public communication infrastructure — said it received 2,472 mail-related complaints for Berlin through September, more than double the 1,142 last year, according to Tagesspiegel. A Post spokesperson said the company is having trouble finding enough workers just as an inordinate amount of employees are staying home with corona, leading to poor service. They say they’re working on improving while everyone ignores the law that they have to deliver once every workday. I don’t mind. I just have no mail for several days and then a full mailbox — feels like Christmas every time.
Last year, 12,163 couples tied the knot, according to the Berlin-Brandenburg statistics office, 4.2 percent fewer than in 2020, which also saw a 10-percent decline in wedlock, probably because of corona. Last year, 28.5 percent of the fresh marriages included at least one non-German.
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