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United Germany Part V

In the European elections on May 25, 2014, the SPD was the only party represented in the Bundestag, alongside the right-wing populist AfD, to gain significant votes. With the following state elections, however, the party began to decline. In Hamburg, Bremen, Berlin, Brandenburg, Lower Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate, the SPD was able to maintain its position as the strongest party. In North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein, however, she had to join the opposition (2017). If no coalitions were formed with the CDU, it often took three, sometimes even four, parties at the state level to achieve parliamentary majorities because, on the other hand, the AfD was on the rise, mostly at the expense of the CDU. In Thuringia, the CDU emerged as the strongest force on September 14, 2014, left, B. Ramelow . This was the first time that the Left was able to provide the head of government in a federal state. In Baden-Württemberg, the Greens of Prime Minister W. Kretschmann became the strongest political forcefor the first time in September 2017.

In October 2014, the Bundestag passed the first stage for a reform of long-term care insurance as of January 1, 2015. On March 6, 2015, the “Law for the Equal Participation of Women and Men in Management Positions in the Private and Public Sector” was passed. Thereafter, inter alia A quota of 30% women apply to the supervisory boards of listed companies. On June 30, 2017, the SPD, the Greens and the Left put a vote on a law on the complete legal equality of homosexual couples (“marriage for everyone”) on the agenda of the Bundestag against the resistance of the Union parties; it received a clear majority. Learn more about Germany and Europe, please click cheeroutdoor.com.

In April 2016, a commission of experts proposed a model for financing the storage of nuclear waste, according to which energy companies could buy themselves out of the responsibility of the interim and final storage of radioactive waste for around € 23 billion, which was approved by the Bundestag on December 15, 2016 became. With this, responsibility for the storage of nuclear waste was transferred to the state. The responsibility for the decommissioning and dismantling of the nuclear power plants remained with the companies.

The negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement (TTIP) with the USA and CETA with Canada were accompanied by strong public protests. Critics feared that consumer protection standards would be undermined and criticized the planned introduction of private arbitration tribunals. Nevertheless, CETA came into force provisionally in 2017 until it was ratified by the EU states.

In the course of the advance of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Syria (Syrian civil war) and Iraq, as well as the crisis in Ukraine, a new debate flared up in 2014 about the form in which Germany should take on international responsibility. The German government refused to send ground troops to Syria, but did deliver weapons to Kurdish groups in northern Iraq. Against the background of the terrorist attacks in Paris, the Bundestag voted on December 4, 2015 for the Bundeswehr to be deployed in Syria and Iraq to support the fight against IS (including aerial reconnaissance from the Turkish base Incirlik).

On June 2, 2016, the Bundestag passed a resolution in which the massacre of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 was classified as genocide, which aroused sharp criticism from the Turkish government. The dispute over election campaign appearances by Turkish politicians in Germany in the run-up to a constitutional referendum in Turkey and the arrests of German citizens in Turkey further strained German-Turkish relations in 2017. After the Turkish government had repeatedly banned members of the Bundestag from visiting the German soldiers stationed in Incirlik, the federal government decided on 7 June 2017 to relocate them to Jordan.

As a result of the war in Syria and other conflicts in the Middle East, Afghanistan and northern Africa, the number of asylum applications in Germany had increased significantly. The further growth in migration caused their number to rise dramatically in Europe, especially in Germany, in 2015. In view of the chaotic conditions in Hungary, Germany and Austria agreed on September 4, 2015 to accept the predominantly Syrian refugees from there without prior registration. On September 7, 2015, the federal government presented an overall concept for overcoming the refugee crisis (including a significant increase in funding for refugee aid, additional positions in the federal police; changes to the asylum law and asylum procedures). In 2015, a total of around 890,000 asylum seekers came to Germany. The refugee crisis became the dominant domestic political issue and led to considerable tensions, especially between the CDU and CSU. The Pegida protest movement and its local offshoots, which had already lost importance, received renewed support. And there have been numerous attacks and assaults on refugee shelters. On the other hand, broad civic engagement developed in the form of local »welcome initiatives«.

The number of people who sought refuge in Germany in 2016 fell by two thirds compared to the previous year because the routes across the Balkan Peninsula were closed and the EU-Turkey Agreement had a slowing effect. Nevertheless, the number of initial and subsequent asylum applications rose to a record level of around 746,000.

Germany was the target of several attacks with an Islamist background in 2016. On July 18, 2016, a young asylum seeker attacked passengers on a regional train in Würzburg (five injured). On July 24, 2016, a Syrian refugee committed a suicide attack at a festival in Ansbach (15 injured). On December 19, 2016, a heavy truck raced into a well-attended Christmas market on Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz (twelve dead, 56 injured). The perpetrator, a Tunisian, was shot dead by an Italian police officer four days later in Milan when he opened fire on the police during a routine check.

The SPD chairman Gabriel announced on January 24th, 2017 that he was not going to run for chancellor for the upcoming federal election and that he was withdrawing from the SPD party chairmanship. Thereupon M. Schulz was nominated as candidate for chancellor.

The election for the 19th German Bundestag took place on September 24, 2017. The governing parties suffered heavy losses. Although the Union remained the strongest political force and thus again received the mandate to form a government, it recorded its worst result since 1949 with 32.9% of the votes. The SPD only got 20.5% of the votes, also its worst result in federal elections. For the first time, the AfD was able to move into the Bundestag and became the third strongest parliamentary force with 12.6% of the vote. With 10.7% of the vote, the FDP returned to the Bundestag after a four-year absence. Left and Greens got 9.2 and 8.9% of the vote, respectively, and thus recorded slight gains. After the constitution of the new Bundestag on October 24th In 2017, the previous government remained in office. Exploratory talks between the Union, FDP and the Greens about the formation of a The Jamaica coalition broke off the FDP on November 19, 2017.

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