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

German chancellor Angela Merkel, seen with CDU party members, will present herself in the election as a voice of sanity in an age of anxiety. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Party delegates to put differences aside for chancellor’s campaign send-off in Essen

 Alexander Van der Bellen: The new Austrian president celebrates with supporters. Observers say the former economist dubbed “the professor” has his work cut out to prove himself. Photograph: AFP/APA/Roland Schlager

‘We are more successful than ever’ says party even as its candidate loses presidential bid

Maria Ladenburger: the student was raped and killed  in October  – she was last seen cycling home.  Photograph: Facebook

Chief suspect in rape and murder of Maria Ladenburger (19) is asylum seeker (17)

FPÖ presidential candidate Norbert Hofer. His campaign manager called Sunday’s result “historic”. Photograph: Heinz-Peter Bader /Reuters

Bitter 11-month election campaign has left political sphere polarised like never before

“Today he’s the sunny boy but, in reality, he’s the FPÖ chief ideologue”: Presidental candidate Norbert Hofer has tried to distance himself from his own far-right party. Photographer: Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

Contest between Norbert Hofer and Alexander Van der Bellen is the first in a series that could change Europe’s political DNA

 Santa’s present deliveries to Ireland are forecast to be up slightly on last year due to Ireland’s economic recovery and improved behaviour of Irish children in 2016: Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Austrian parents tell their children that priest ‘is old and confused’

Holocaust survivor Marko Feingold: “Austria is a democracy with Nazi character”

Norbert Hofer of far-right Freedom Party leads in final polls ahead of Sunday’s election

Presidential election posters of far right Freedom Party (FPOe) presidential candidate Norbert Hofer and Alexander Van der Bellen   in Vienna. Photograph: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

Far-right candidate Norbert Hofer faces a rerun against Alexander Van der Bellen

Data protection Minister Dara Murphy: Chancellor’s thinking was echoed in meetings this week  with leading data protection officials. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Dara Murphy welcomes German move towards more business-friendly approach

European Parliament president Martin Schulz (left) and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker prepare to greet the president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in Brussels on Thursday. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP

European Parliament president is said to have his eyes on higher things in Germany

As one of 12 vice-presidents of the 751-member parliament,Mairead McGuinness has built up a high profile and is well regarded within the EPP group. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Irish MEP declares candidacy after news that incumbent Martin Schulz will not run

German chancellor Angela Merkel speaking during a heated debate at the Bundestag in Berlin on Wednesday. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

German MPs back Irish section within Brexit talks, Minister says after Berlin talks

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan: Gmail users   grant Google a “worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify  . . . publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute” their content. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Terms and conditions of Gmail allow Google to publish and publicly perform the content

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan: Sources said a breach of the policy on email use would not necessarily be a disciplinary matter, and that there were “extenuating circumstances”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Restrictions on Garda email system meant Commissioner ‘occasionally’ used Gmail

German chancellor Angela Merkel will  seek re-election next year. Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

Chancellor seen as past her peak and lacking ideas but better than the competition

The Garda has insisted that it is satisfied that “the commissioner’s systems are secure.

Force satisfied Nóirín O’Sullivan’s ‘systems secure and no evidence of compromise’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel: decision to seek fourth term became even more likely given political uncertainties arising from Brexit and US president-elect Donald Trump. Photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Chancellor says election will be most difficult since unification because of polarised society

Babette Albrecht: claims her late husband Berthold was a “serious alcoholic” who was not contractually capable when he changed his will in 2010. Photograph: Gisela Schober/Getty

Berthold Albrecht’s widow and children take legal action in bid for control of Aldi Nord

Chancellor Angela Merkel: her success reflected in a remarkable 52 per cent popularity rating. Photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

The popular German chancellor – ‘leader of the liberal free world’ – looks likely to seek a fourth term

US president Barack Obama and German chancellor  Angela Merkel at a mini-summit with  EU leaders in Berlin. Photograph: Kay Nietfeld/EPA

EU leaders underline importance of Nato in resolving conflicts in Syria and Ukraine

European Commission president Jean- Claude Juncker: told a closed-door meeting that if Mr Schulz was forced out, “then I cannot guarantee my future as commission president”, according to Der Spiegel. Photograph:   Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Commission president resisting moves to force out head of parliament, says report

Volkswagen: The car giant is looking for big cost savings – €3.7bn worth. Photograph: AP/Erik Schelzig

Europe’s largest carmaker faces multibillion-euro bill related to its emissions scandal

German chancellor Angela Merkel and US president Barack Obama appear jointly before the media in Berlin, Germany. Photograph:  Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

US president joins with Angela Merkel in Berlin to defend transatlantic relationship

US president Barack Obama arrives Berlin’s Tegel airport at the start of his two-day visit to the German city. Photograph: Rainer Jensen/AFP/Getty Images

US president to give leaders first impressions of successor Trump during Berlin visit

Coloured recycling bins in  Aurich, Germany. The simple task of throwing things away in the country is not for the faint-hearted.  Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Huge bill issued in Germany for badly sorted rubbish highlights bewildering process

Outgoing US  president Barack Obama: eight years on, he will pay a  farewell visit to Berlin on Wednesday to meet a woman he calls his “closest ally”. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque

Outgoing US president forged strong links for US with Germany and its chancellor

A bag of supplies for a poor resident of Athens, Greece. Some 36% of Greeks are living near the poverty line, something that also applies to 37% of Romanians and 41% of Bulgarians. Photograph: EPA/Orestis Panagiotou

Index finds growing EU economic recovery has done little to ease levels of poverty

Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party: latest polls give him the narrowest of leads. Photograph: Heinz-Peter Bader/File Photo/Reuters

Last election ended with narrow victory for Green Party-backed Van der Bellen

The site of the Smolensk air crash which left 96 people dead, including Poland’s then president Lech Kaczynski. Photograph: Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty

President Lech Kaczynski was among 96 people killed when plane crashed in 2010

Nationalists march in large numbers through the streets of Warsaw to mark Poland’s Independence Day on  Friday.  Photograph: Czarek Sokolowski/AP

Ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski promises to restore full sovereignty from EU

Rabbi Arthur Schneier, a Holocaust survivor, presents the Ohel-Jakob-Medal to Chancellor Angela Merkel,  next to Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, at the Ohel Jacob synagogue in Munich. Photograph:  AFP

In Trump, German chancellor faces biggest challenge after many tussles with awkward men

The house of US president-elect Donald Trump’s grandfather in Kallstadt, Germany. Photograph: Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

Many are still annoyed at how he ignored an appeal for funds to restore the church organ

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told a Berlin audience that the United States “won’t look after Europe’s security for ever”. Photograph:  Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

Commission president insists controversial call not related to Trump’s election victory

Police seach a building opposite the German-speaking Islamic Circle Hildesheim Mosque in Hildesheim, Germany on Tuesday. Photograph: EPA/Julian Stratenschulte

Islamic State’s alleged ‘No 1’ man in Germany described as ‘the worst’ by returnee jihadist

Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel: torn between appeasement of Turkey and action. Photograph:  Michael Sohn/AP

Arrests of Turkish opposition politicians prompt ‘grave concern’ in EU states

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, (centre), leader of ruling party Law and Justice Party (PiS): said he hoped the new payment would encourage mothers to carry to term even children with no chance of survival, to allow Baptism or a blessing and burial. Photograph: Reuters

Conservative government passes law promising parents of disabled children €926

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