Scorching analysis: Martin Schulz diagnoses Germany’s ills in Bielefeld. Photograph: Friso Gentsch/AFP/Getty

Martin Schulz has engineered Germany’s biggest political upset in years – and could now challenge Merkel’s grip on the chancellors(...)

 An aircraft is  prepared so it can take deportees   Afghanistan from  the airport at Munich in Germany. Photograph: Sebastian Widmann/EPA

New rules allow for expedited deportations of applicants viewed as a security threat

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with  European Commission president Jean- Claude Juncker: Mr Kenny said it was a Government priority that the 1998 agreement was “not damaged in any way”. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Call for Brexit deal to follow German example on unification ‘were it to occur’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and European Commission president Jean- Claude Juncker at a joint news conference following their meeting in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

‘The Good Friday agreement is like a poem, it speaks for itself’ – Jean Claude Juncker

European Stability Mechanism chief Klaus Regling said Greece would “stand on its own feet” from 2018. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Merkel and Lagarde agree Greece needs ‘greater flexibility’ on budget targets

Norbert Lammert: “The fact that we’d prefer things quieter and cosier is no excuse not to tackle the challenges we face in Europe.” Photograph: Stefanie Loos/AFP/Getty Images

Norbert Lammert: ‘Everyone has their own interests that are important to them’

Martin Schulz of Germany’s Social Democrat Party (SPD)   who is challenging Angela Merkel for the chancellor. Photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Candidate for German chancellor pulls SPD party to neck-and-neck with Merkel’s CDU

Colm Tóibín: “Return to Montauk” tells of a novelist whose New York book promotion tour turns into a trip down memory lane. Photograph: Frank Miller

Collaboration with Schlöndorff in running for Golden Bear at Berlin Film Festival

Angela Merkel  testifies on Thursday before the German parliamentary inquiry. Photograph: Clemens Bilan/EPA

Chancellor the final witness in three-year parliamentary probe into whistleblower Edward Snowden’s leaks about surveillance(...)

Rex Tillerson and Sergei Lavrov: The US secretary of state and his Russian counterpart agreed to fight terrorism in Syria and other other countries where “terrorism has put down roots”. Photograph: EPA/Friedemann Vogel

Donald Trump’s secretary of state says Russia expected to honour Ukraine peace deal

German chancellor Angela Merkel and Tunisian prime minister Youssef Chahed lay flowers at the site of the Christmas market attack in Berlin. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

Chancellor and Tunisian leader seek common ground while visiting market attack site

Björn Höcke, head of the far-right AfD party in the eastern state of Thuringia, who faces expulsion from the party after calling for a “180-degree shift” in how Germany remembered its past. Photograph: Hendrik Schmidt/AFP/Getty

Regional leader Höcke calls process of coming to terms with fascist past ‘silly’

New German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier is congratulated by  drag Queen Olivia Jones after the election. Germany’s former foreign minister is in the centre-left Social Democrats party. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

Country can shake off post-war insecurity and ‘give others courage’, says Social Democrat

Jaroslaw Kaczynski: Taking a leaf from Donald Trump, the leader of Poland’s ruling PiS party is in full pursuit of a conservative counter-revolution. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Jaroslaw Kaczynski endorses ideological view that the real world is ‘very brutal’

An art installation entitled Monument, created with three buses propped up vertically by Syrian-German artist Manaf Halbouni, which is  adjacent to the Frauenkirche church in Dresden, Germany. The artwork is a reminder of barriers made of buses in the streets of Aleppo, Syria,  that aimed to protect people from sniper fire.  Photograph: Filip Singer/EPA

Syrian-German artist evokes Aleppo - but far-right says work overshadows WWII dead

Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo and Taoiseach Enda Kenny  outline their vision for the EU at a joint address. Photograph: EPA

Brexit dominates Taoiseach’s visit to Poland along with bilateral trade valued at €3bn

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan with Supt David Taylor and Supt Pat McCabe at Templemore. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Taoiseach: ‘You cannot have a country if everyone against whom allegations are made has to step aside’

German chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish premier Beata Szydlo. Photograph: Wojtek Radwanski/AFP/Getty

Poland’s close ties to Ireland emphasised over differences on EU treaty change

Poland’s prime minister, Beata Szydlo,  and  Angela Merkel  review a guard of honour in Warsaw on Tuesday at the start of the German chancellor’s visit to Poland. Photo: AP/Czarek Sokolowski

On Warsaw visit, Merkel voices concerns over rule of law under Law and Justice party

 Mr Anas Modamani  has filed suit against Facebook in a regional court, accusing the social network of aiding incitment by spreading posts with false claims he was an Islamist terrorist.

Injunction sought against social media firm and users who uploaded fake claims

 Angela Merkel with Horst Seehofer, leader of the Christian Social Union: The German chancellor  won the Bavarian party’s endorsement to run for a fourth term, removing a potential source of conflict within the alliance ahead of elections in September. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

German chancellor predicts ‘the most difficult election that I have experienced to date’

Berlin wonders if the Trump White House has launched a dangerous strategy of presenting itself as the best false friend of euro members who have long resented Germany’s trade surplus and what they perceive as German-friendly ECB monetary policy. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Berlin refutes Trump camp suggestion it may be manipulating euro for national gain

Anti-Semitism: as Hitler legalised the exclusion of Jews from German life, Irish civil servants warned ministers of policies that would create a “surplus” of Jews in Ireland. Photograph: Bettmann/Getty

Jews fleeing Hitler faced, in Dublin, a government that often saw them as an unwelcome burden, according to new research

German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel (left) meets US secretary of state Rex Tillerson at the Department of State in Washington on Thursday. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel stresses equal rights on Library of Congress visit

German chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, walk past a portrait of Turkish Republic founder Kemal Atatuerk at the presidential palace in Ankara. Photograph: Umit Bektas/Reuters

German chancellor stresses importance of democratic opposition during visit to Ankara

Barberini is financed and filled with art by billionaire Hasso Plattner (pictured left) with museum director Dr Ortrud Westheider in front of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, 1914–1917

The Barberini Museum in Postsdam is the latest venue in a stunning list of new concert halls and museums

Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, reminded DonaldTrump of US obligations to accept people seeking asylum on humanitarian grounds. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Berlin has vowed to examine consequence of Trump’s executive order for people with dual US-German citizenship

Martin Schulz: The imminent leader of Germany’s Social Democrats favours a “liberal but not stupid” approach to refugees and dismisses Donald Trump as “outrageous and dangerous”. Photograph: Steffi Loos/Getty Images

New SPD leader promises to restore ‘fairness’ as he gets ready to take on Merkel

An outspoken head of state from 1994 to 1999, Roman  Herzog is best remembered for warning in 1997: “Germany needs a jolt”. Above,  German Chancellor Angela Merkel pays her respects at  his state funeral this week. Photograph: Max Menning-Pool/Getty Images

Hitler anniversary sees US president walk similar line between leadership, seduction, entrapment

Visitors at the  Sachsenhausen memorial of a former Nazi concentration camp in Oranienburg near Berlin, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Photograph:  Maurizio Gambarini/AFP

Historians point to facts as some draw parallels between Donald Trump and Hitler

Austrian president Alexander Van der Bellen delivers his inaugural speech at the Federal Assembly in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday. Photograph: Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters

Former Green leader Alexander Van der Bellen defeated far-right candidate

Marie Collins, survivor of clerical child abuse: “Looking back is alright if you’re only looking back at others. But if you have to look back at yourself, that is the hardest thing.”

‘It wasn’t just priests or politicians who kept Catholic Ireland alive. It was also us, the Irish people’

The new  leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Martin Schulz  smiles next to his predecessor, Sigmar Gabriel, at a party meeting in the Bundestag on Wednesday.  Photograph: Felipe Trueba/EPA

Former European Parliament president succeeds Sigmar Gabriel after resignation

According to Swedish media reports, up to 200 people watched  the attack on the 30 year-old woman. One woman called the police. Photograph: Getty

20,000 people are members of group where stream was broadcast online on Sunday

A passenger walkway outside Berlin Brandenburg International Willy Brandt Airport in Schoenefeld, in May 2016. The airport, which was due to open in 2010, is also hugely over budget.  Photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Berlin Letter: Berlin Brandenburg International Airport has hit repeated obstacles

Martin Schulz  with  Angela Merkel:  The former European Parliament president has been proposed to replace Sigmar Gabriel as head of the SPD, best able to challenge  the chancellor in Germany’s September  elections. Photograph: EPA/Julien Warnand

SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel quits, proposing ex-European Parliament head as successor

German chancellor Angela Merkel in front of “Banks of the Seine at Jeufosse, Autumn” by Claude Monet during the official opening of the Barberini museum in Potsdam, near Berlin, on Friday. Photograph: Bernd von Jutrczenka

German leader sends senior officials to New York to sound out the Trump team

Timon (12) and Max (9) play with an animal view helmet by artists Denis Connolly and Anne Cleary at the announcement of plans for Biotopia, the  natural history museum  at Nymphenburg Palace, Munich. Photograph: Robert Gongoll

From Dublin’s Science Gallery to director of the Biotopia natural history centre in Bavaria

Front National leader Marine Le Pen and Alternative für Deutschland co-leader Frauke Petry:   meeting  between the two sparked  dissent in the German party

Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders among leaders attending event hosted by AfD

Volkswagen is challenging a court order to refund money to a customer. Photograph: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

German court orders full purchase price of Skoda Yeti to be refunded to customer

German chancellor Angela Merkel: “the single market will soon be endangered if it emerges that you can get full access even by picking certain things out.” Photograph: Odd Andersen

Leading Berlin government officials rubbish speech as ‘cherry-picking’

    National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) chairman:  A court in Baden-Württemberg deemed the party  too weak and disorganised to pose a risk. Photograph: Thomas Kienzle/AFP/Getty

Critics of NPD ban application say Alternative für Deutschland poses far greater threat

BMW has said  it has  a US plant that employs 70,000 people who turned out 411,000 cars in 2016, more than at its main plant in Bavaria. file photograph: Getty Images

President-elect floated idea of hitting BMW with 35% charge on cars it builds in Mexico

Donald Trump: Chancellor Angela Merkel had made a “catastrophic error” allowing undocumented refugees into Germany. Photograph: PA

President-elect vows to bring back taxable income from giant US firms based in Ireland

British chancellor Philip Hammond has said Britain may be forced to change its economic model if it is locked out of the single market after Brexit. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

German politicians angered by threat to use corporate tax as a form of leverage in talks

Berlin minister for housing Andrej Holm: he volunteered to join the Stasi at the age of 14. Photograph: Felipe Trueba/EPA

Move leaves state government in crisis as Left Party threatens to leave coalition

Berlin state secretary for housing, Andrej Holm. His appointment has sparked a debate because he signed up for the Stasi shortly before the Berlin Wall came down. Photograph: Felipe Trueba/EPA

Secretary for housing Andrej Holm’s Communist past has come back to haunt him

Germany’s justice minister Heiko Maas (above) has admitted police and intelligence errors contributed to the Berlin Christmas market attack last month. File photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

Justice minister orders inquiry into decentralised surveillance of attacker Anis Amri

US soldiers arrive in Zagan, Poland, as part of Nato deployment in response to Russia’s stand-off with Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. Photograph: Anna Krasko/Agencja Gazeta via Reuters

‘Operation Atlantic Resolve’ a response to Russian aggression against Ukraine

 Jaroslaw Kaczynski: The leader of the Law and Justice party  dismissed the opposition blockade as a violation of democratic norms. Photograph: EPA/Bartlomiej Zborowski

Government stands firm as opposition parties call budget illegal and demand new vote

Refugees from Syria in Julbach, Austria, near the Austrian-German border. Germany reported  a big drop last year in the numbers seeking asylum. Photograph: Armin Weigel/EPA

‘Federal government and European measures have kicked in’, bringing down numbers

Germany’s deputy chancellor and economics minister Sigmar Gabriel with the chancellor, Angela Merkel. Photograph: Steffi Loos/AFP/Getty

Germany’s Social Democrat leader has decided to contest chancellorship, says ‘Bild’

Anas Modamani and Angela Merkel at Berlin’s AWO Refugium Askanierring shelter for migrants on September 10th, 2015. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Facebook post falsely claimed Anas Modamani set fire to Berlin homeless man

This CCTV footage shows Anis Amri in Brussels North railway station on December 21st, two days after he drove a truck into a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 people. Photograph: Belgian Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office via AP

Anis Amri was one of ‘dangerous persons’ who can’t be arrested under current law

Maj Gen Timothy McGuire, deputy commander of US forces in Europe, at the  unloading of US military vehicles from a transport ship in the harbour at Bremerhaven, northwestern Germany, on Friday. Photograph: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

Thousands of troops moved with military equipment to Nato’s eastern border

In private, Berlin officials insist they are well informed about Irish concerns and will work to give them due prominence in the difficult divorce talks ahead. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Taoiseach Enda Kenny says ‘people will not accept the return of a hard Border’

Suspected jihadist Berlin truck attacker Anis Amri, in a still from a video pledging allegiance to Isis. Photograph: AFP

Prosecutors say the man met Amri in a restaurant the evening before the attack

German interior minister Thomas de Maizière fears Islamic State will exploit the country’s decentralised structure. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

Laws decentralising power, created to guard against Nazism, obstruct fight on terrorism

A memorial to victims of the December 19th terror attack at a Christmas market on January 3rd, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Christmas market suspect known in western Germany but details not passed to capital

Police officers surround a group of men in front of the main station in Cologne, western Germany, last weekend. Photograph: Henning Kaiser/dpa via AP

German officers targeted young north African men after last year’s sexual assaults

German chancellor Angela Merkel: Most Germans say she is their best bet to lead them into an uncertain future. Photograph: Markus Schreiber/Reuters

Even the chancellor is shifting to the right as her third term comes to a close

German chancellor Angela Merkel: Her 2017 re-election will be  tricky, holding the political centre while roping  in both younger, urban voters and those small town right-wingers looking to the AfD. Photograph: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

The chancellor’s grip on power is still tight, though not nearly as steady as in the past

Protesters with a picture of Andrzej Rzeplinski, the outgoing head of Poland’s constitutional court, at an anti-government rally in front of the court  in Warsaw. Photograph: Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images

Warsaw Letter: Country’s ruling PiS party is accused of trampling over the constitution

Like many of Germany’s bridges, the Leverkusen Bridge in Cologne is in dire need of repair

Spending crisis sees bridges slip from needing serious repairs to being public danger

Italian police use blankets to block view of Anis Amri’s body after he was shot dead in Milan’s Sesto San Giovanni area. Photograph: Daniele Bennati/EPA

Angela Merkel says killing of Anis Amri ends ‘acute danger’ amid claims of security flaws

German chancellor Angela Merkel: must convince voters she is best-placed to restore Germans’ deepest needs: security and control. Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

Chancellor must restore German confidence in national security and halt fear of migrants

Image of Anis Amri, the Tunisian suspect in the Berlin truck attack pledging allegiance to its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Photograph: Militant video via AP

Right wing parties call for end to open EU borders after Berlin suspect shot

The reopened Breitscheidplatz Christmas market in Berlin,  near where a truck killed 12 people and injured dozens in a terrorist attack three days ago. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Berliners are stoical at reopening of Christmas market, but attitudes are changing

An undated handout made available by German Federal Criminal Police Office shows suspect Anis Amri who is being searched for in connection to Monday’s terror attack in Berlin. Photograph: EPA/BKA

Anis Amri being sought by German authorities after 12 die in Christmas market attack

An undated handout made available by the German federal criminal police office shows suspect Anis Amri, who is wanted in connection with Monday’s terror attack in Berlin. Photograph: EPA/BKA

Angela Merkel says she is proud of Germany’s reponse to Christmas market assault

Sympathisers of German populist party AfD hold a placard reading “Merkel  has blood of her nation on her hands” during a protest rally in front of the chancellory in Berlin. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

Germans and refugees gather to sing while right-wing protestors hold ‘solemn vigil’

An undated handout made available by German Federal Criminal Police Office shows suspect Anis Amri who is searched for in connection to Monday’s terror attack in Berlin. Photograph: EPA/BKA

Germany offers reward for information as Europe-wide arrest warrant issued for Tunisian

Anis Amri: Reward offered for infromation as to his whereabouts. Photograph: Reuters

Suspect under surveillance for several months over potential plan to buy weapons

German chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at a Christmas market in Berlin on Tuesday. Photograph: Maurizio Gambarini/dpa via AP

German security on high alert as ‘armed perpetrator’ believed to be at large

 German chancellor Angela Merkel: “No matter how this turns out, there is no good outcome for Merkel.”  Photograph: Michael Kappeler/EPA

The lorry attack at a Berlin Christmas market is major challenge for chancellor

A woman prays next to a group of lighted candles at the Christmas market in Berlin where a truck ploughed into shoppers on Monday, killing 12. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

‘I saw the injured and those beyond help. It’s the first time I’ve experienced something like this’

Heavily armed police officers on patrol at a Christmas market in Hildesheim, Germany, on Tuesday. Photograph:  Julian Stratenschulte/EPA

Armed patrols sent to many of Germany’s other 2,500 Christmas markets

A tow truck operates at the scene where a truck ploughed through a crowd on Breitscheidplatz square. Photograph: Reuters

Chancellor may face toughest hours of her 11-year political term after Berlin attack

Market salesmen arrive with flowers at the Christmas market near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on Tuesday. Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

Man detained over incident which killed 12 released as police search for driver

 Rescue workers around a truck which  crashed into a Christmas market close to the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church in Berlin, Germany on Monday evening. At least nine people have died in the incident. Photograph:  Paul Zinken/EPA

At least 48 injured, police arrest man and confirm second man found dead in truck cab

Protesters gather for the fourth day to demonstrate against new media regulations in front of the Sejm building in Warsaw yesterday. Photograph: Radek Pietruszka

Protests over authoritarianism in Poland persist outside parliament building

An effigy of Law and Justice (PiS) leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski at a protest in front of Poland’s parliament in Warsaw. Photograph: Marcin Obara/EPA

Analysis: Protests grow as draconian media law is straw that has broken camel’s back

Protest organised by the club of the Polish newspaper “Gazeta Polska” in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw yesterday. Photograph:   Jacek Turczyk/EPA

PiS party passes budget behind closed doors, blocking access to rival parties and media

Berlin no longer wants companies such as Facebook to self-regulate. Photograph: Getty Images

Social media giant will incur penalty if problematic post not removed within 24 hours

The entrance of the Christmas market in Ludwigshafen, Germany, on Friday. Investigators have detained a 12-year-old boy suspected of trying to detonate an explosive device there. Photograph: Uwe Anspach/AFP/Getty Images

Police believe boy was steered, possibly by Islamist extremists, via phone messenger app

North Rhine Westphalia  AfD  leader Marcus Pretzell with  party leader Frauke Petry. State police officials in NRW dismissed Pretzell’s smartphone app as “nonsense”. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

Far-right party aims to tap distrust of establishment to raise voter share to 20%

A Swiss flag  at the Rhine River in Basel, Switzerland. Nearly a quarter of Switzerland’s 8.3 million residents are non-Swiss while another 350,000 more EU citizens commute into Switzerland from neighbouring Italy, Germany and France. Photograph:  Michele Tantussi/Getty Images

In case with similarities to Brexit, MPs water down plan to impose limit on EU migrants

Eva Glawischnig, leader of the Austrian Green Party:  her legal team took an injunction against Facebook’s Dublin-based international operation. Photograph: Michael Debets/Getty Images

Case by Green Party leader may force social media company to take action on hate posts

European Council president Donald Tusk in Brussels on Wednesday:  said Europeans “must take greater responsibility” for defence. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Sanctions on Russia set to be extended, with EU defence policy also on summit agenda

Another one down: Angela Merkel with soon-to-gone French president François Hollande  in Berlin on Tuesday. Photograph: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

The German chancellor faces an uncertain year and plotting by a conservative CDU cabal

A fake Facebook user spread rumours that Austria’s Green-backed president-elect, Alexander Van der Bellen, was suffering from cancer. Photograph: Alexander Koerner/Getty

Court in Vienna orders Facebook Ireland to remove false and hate posts immediately

Hygge,  the Danish concept of cosy, at-home quality time ends a bumper year with one final boost. Photograph: Getty Images

Concept makes it into official list of what defines Denmark

Cologne police chief Jürgen Mathies: determined not to repeat mistakes of last year. Photograph: Oliver Berg/EPA

Presence to be increased tenfold following hundreds of sexual assaults last year

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after he visited victims of the football stadium bombings in Istanbul. Photograph: Kayhan Ozer, pool photo via AP

Austria’s foreign minister critical of Erdogan’s crackdown on Turkish opposition

Drug addicts and prostitutes: Dr Helmut Kentler,  a sex researcher, believed he was giving Berlin’s troubled teens a social anchor while giving paedophiles a chance to become  caring foster parents. Illustration: DFP/MCT via Getty

Under the ‘Kentler Experiment’ of the 1970s, Berlin welfare authorities handed over homeless teenagers to known paedophiles

 German chancellor Angela Merkel has warned of the danger of blowing out of proportion the security threat posed by asylum seekers. Photograph: Kay Nietfeld/EPA

Politicians agree on need to adjust ‘welcome culture’

German chancellor Angela Merkel and  vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel at a meeting  with  German state  leaders  in Berlin. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

Vice-chancellor: ‘Liberal democracies on the defensive, authoritarian answers on the offensive’

German chancellor and leader of the conservative Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) Angela Merkel votes during the CDU party convention in Essen. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Conservative rebels in chancellor’s party seek to provide alternative to far-right AfD

German chancellor Angela Merkel is applauded after addressing delegates during her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party’s congress in Essen, western Germany, on Tuesday. Photograph:  Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

Vow to speed up deportations of failed asylum seekers marks start of re-election bid

German chancellor Angela Merkel  is celebrated by party members after she was re-elected chairwoman of the CDU at the party’s convention in Essen, Germany, on Tuesday. Photograph: EPA/Michael Kappeler

German leader sounds tougher at conference, but substance of her message is intact

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