Smoke billowing from the chemical industry area of Chempark in Leverkusen, Germany. Photograph: Sascha Steinbach/EPA

Four missing as residents told to stay indoors due to fears of toxic fumes after blast

Nena: “I don’t f***ing care, I’m sick of this,” she says of Covid-19 restrictions on public performance. Photograph: Engelke\ullstein bild via Getty Images

99 Red Balloons singer lends voice to those against curbs as Delta takes centre stage

 Chancellor Angela Merkel after visiting the flood-ravaged towns in western Germany.  Many see the floods as an appropriate, tragic symbol of Merkel’s mixed climate record. Photograph:  Christof Stache /  AFP via Getty

What will happen to Germany and the EU after she departs the scene in September?

Participants attend the Berlin Trans Pride 2021 march earlier this month.   The demonstration called for improved rights and acceptance of transgender individuals in society and increased representation in the media. Photograph: Adam Berry/Getty Images

Community was subjected to abusive questioning, dismissed from church employment

Oksana Lyniv at the gate to the stage entrance of the Bayreuth Festival in  Germany. On Sunday, Ms Lyniv will become the first woman to conduct a production at the festival in its 145-year history.  Photograph: Roderick Aichinger/The New York Times

Oksana Lyniv says her selection, following 92 male conductors, is ‘a symbol for our time’

German chancellor Angela Merkel: Some 75 per cent of Germans oppose higher petrol prices while just 47 per cent back higher prices on products with CO2-intensive production. Photograph: Timm

Amid floods and fatalities, opinion poll reveals no public mood swing on green issues

German chancellor Angela Merkel: “I am sufficiently equipped with a scientific mind to see that the objective circumstances require that we cannot continue at this pace, but must speed up.”  Photograph:  Hannibal Hanschke

Outgoing German chancellor urges more action as floods take place

Some of the weapons seized in the operation. Photograph: Frankfurt police

Man (53) arrested man in Frankfurt after he threatened attack using cache of weapons

Some of the weapons seized in the operation. Photograph: Frankfurt police

Frankfurt police arrested man following raid in which range of weapons were discovered

German chancellor Angela Merkel in the flood-ravaged spa town Bad Munstereifel, in North Rhine-Westphalia state, western Germany, on Tuesday. Photograph: Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images)

Chancellor promises inquiry into why severe weather warnings were not passed on

A muddy street in the city of Dernau, western Germany. Photograph: Christof Stache/AFP via Getty

In Schuld, and the rest of the Ahr valley, there was reportedly no warning at all

Ms Deike Potzel pays a farewell courtesy call on President Michael D Higgins and Sabina Higgins.

Deike Potzel says Irish-German political and trade relations are at all-time high

Firefighters next to an overturned vehicle in Berchtesgaden, Germany. Photograph: Lukas Barth-Tuttas/EPA

Laschet’s ‘laughing’ gaffe ends tacit agreement not to politicise devastating floods

Armin Laschet, premier of north Rhine-Westphalia gives a statement after visiting flooded regions in Hagen, Germany on July 15th. Photograph: Friedemann Vogel/EPA

Armin Laschet faces his most serious test amid the country’s once-in-a-century flood

The Polish and EU flags on the roof of the culture ministry in Warsaw. Photograph:   Attila Husejnow/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Worsening stand-off with EU courts could lead to far-reaching consequences

Firefighters move sandbags against the rising water level of the Duessel, which has already flooded large parts of Duesseldorf Grafenberg, Germany. Photograph: Sascha Steinbach/EPA

Climate change now likely to be high on political agenda ahead of September election

Supreme Court  in Warsaw: Since taking office in 2015, PiS has upended judicial appointments procedures to appoint new judges in contested circumstances, including many critics say are PiS allies. Photograph:  Maciej Luczniewski/NurPhoto

Warsaw ruling comes day before expected far-reaching ruling on judicial reforms

  ShutDownDC activists float a banner with helium balloons calling on German chancellor Angela Merkel to endorse the waiver for intellectual property rights around the Covid-19 vaccine outside the White House in Washington, DC. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

German chancellor and Biden to discuss Afghanistan, Taliban and hacker attacks

Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, arrives for a news conference at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin on Tuesday. Photograph: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg

Germany in phase ‘where we are still promoting vaccines voluntarily’, chancellor says

In 2015 Polish president Andrzej Duda attacked the Jedwabne apology because it suggested that Poland as ‘a nation of victims was also a perpetrator’. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet, AFP via Getty

The pogrom – and that apology – have been dragged into an emotive culture war

A patrol against Islamic State militants in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Afghanistan, July 2018. Photograph: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty

Population stubbornly split down the middle over engagement in long-running conflict

February 2021: A protester holds a ‘TVP lies’ banner while demonstrating against the governmental plan to impose tax burdens on private broadcasters. TVP is the country's national broadcaster while TVN is private. File photograph: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty

Law intends to prevent ‘outside bodies’ influencing public debate, prime minister says

Thursday’s opinion from Luxembourg is the latest twist in a long-running battle between Warsaw’s national conservative Law and Justice government and European institutions.  Photograph: Getty Images

‘Unsubstantiated insinuations’ made about communist-era judges, says advocate general

Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven is seen after being voted in as prime minister in the Swedish parliament in Stockholm. Photograph: Christine Olsson/TT News Agency via AP

Social Democrat had stepped down from position following no-confidence motion

A fruit and vegetable market in Germany.  As well as national proposals, the report takes issue with the current EU subsidy payments system as “not just and in need of reform”.

Merkel welcomes proposals to help small farmers survive and improve animal welfare

The main defendant Adrian V, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison , holds a folder in front of his face at the regional court in Münster, Germany, on Tuesday. Photograph: Guido Kirchner/EPA

Four men in child sex ring jailed for imprisoning, drugging and raping children

A doctor vaccinates an employee with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine at a vaccination centre in Leverkusen, western Germany. Photograph: Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images

Government dismisses proposal as no-show rate at vaccination centres jumps to 10%

Local CDU officials hope Hans-Georg Maassen will win back conservative voters from the Alternative für Deutschland party. File photograph: Tristar Media/Getty

Former spy chief Maassen suggests public TV news is biased against conservatives

German Green party co-leader Annalena Baerbock:  The Bild tabloid accuses her of “small mistakes in her approach to truth, and the effect is fatal”.  Photograph:  Christian Mang

Baerbock blames ‘smear campaign’ for claims of uncredited sources in recent book

Unter den Linden: The capital loves the tree so much that the main boulevard in the city centre, leading to the Brandenburg Gate, is named after the trees that line the route. Photograph: Getty Images

Berlin Letter: Like the German capital itself, the ubiquitous linden tree is a great survivor

Sahra Wagenknecht argues that German left-wing politics has been co-opted by a middle-class academic elite. Photograph: Peter Niedung/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Sahra Wagenknecht’s criticism of left-wing politics has triggered a bitter debate

A makeshift memorial in tribute to the victims of a deadly attack on Friday evening in the city centre of Wuerzburg, southern Germany. Photograph: Getty

Three months to election day, tortured immigration debate back on political agenda

Sweden’s Social Democratic prime minister Stefan Lofven announces his resignation in Stockholm on Monday. Photograph: Stina Stjernkvist/TT via AP

Lofven’s decision after losing confidence motion begins search for new government

Houses damaged by a tornado in the village of Mikulcice, 60km south of Brno, in the Czech Republic. Photograph:  Michal Cizek/AFP via Getty Images

At least 150 injured as wind speeds of up to 330km/h reduce area to a ‘living hell’

Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel before  her last official ‘Regierungserklärung’  in the Bundestag in Berlin. Photograph: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg

Departing chancellor says EU states must learn from mistakes in handling pandemic

Christian Democratic Union  leader Armin Laschet with Christian Social Union  leader Markus Soeder: Critics say  Mr Laschet’s programme lacks detail. Photograph:  Michele Tantussi

Armin Laschet pledges ‘modernisation drive for Germany’ and rules out tax increases

Armin Laschet, leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), in his office in Düsseldorf on Thursday.  Photograph: Sarah Pabst/Bloomberg

Analysts will watch for religious influence in chancellor hopeful’s election manifesto

Frauke Petry, once leader of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) political party. Photograph: Matthias Rietschel/Getty

Frauke Petry’s claims about far-right party have explosive potential ahead of elections

Sweden’s prime minister, Stefan Löfven, has agreed to a government inquiry into whether private landlords should be allowed to freely set rents for new apartments. Photograph: Janerik Henriksson/ AFP via Getty

Prime minister under fire for a proposal to drop rent controls in newly built apartments

German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier walking to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during a wreath-laying ceremony in Warsaw, Poland, on June 17th, 2021. Photograph: Wojtek Radwanski/AFP via Getty Images

Fears that Poland is drifting from the principles of human rights, democracy and law were left unsaid by the German president

For months the company has insisted its product had a high efficacy rate and would be ready for approval by the European authorities by early June at the latest. Photograph: Thomas Kienzle/ Getty Images

Nasdaq-traded shares in Tübingen-based firm collapsed by almost half following admission

the path to power in Berlin may be via a so-called ‘Schlafwagenpolitik’ – or sleeper car campaign. Photograph: iStock

Nearly 62% want different kind of federal government following September 26th vote

The mayor’s plan requires a DNA databank of all local dogs, collected via a mouth swab either retroactively or when owners have their dog chipped. Photograph: Getty Images

Surge in pandemic puppies in spa town of Baden has created a dog poop epidemic

Co-leader of Germany’s Greens (Die Gruenen) party Annalena Baerbock. Photograph: Axel Schmidt/Pool/AFP via Getty

Opponents attack Greens as elitist party for well-earning urbanites, with some success

This area in front of the Reichstag in Berlin was shared by many families who hoped to grow enough vegetables  to fend off starvation.

Book review: Harald Jähner’s book fills the yawning gap between a growing number of modern German history texts and the oversupply(...)

For centuries the 13th century Cologne Cathedral has been a touchstone of German Catholicism. Yet for many German believers Cologne is now the epicentre of institutional dysfunction and denial, in particular over the scale of clerical child abuse and the systematic nature of its cover-up. Photograph: Getty Images

It is fending off calls for women priests and blessings of same-sex couples amid criticism of its handling of sex abuse cases

Aarhus, Denmark’s second biggest city: Deeply rooted in the Danish mentality is the conviction that housing is more than a commodity, and that high-quality public housing is the key to social peace, not simply shoddy boxes for poor people.

Aarhus has been transformed by a citizen-led approach to affordable housing development

Hans-Georg Massen has been described as the right man to keep local conservative voters from drifting right to the Alternative für Deutschland. File photograph: Getty

Hans-Georg Maassen brings ‘great reset’ views to his Bundestag nomination in Thuringia

A woman watches Poland’s minister for education, Przemyslaw Czarnek, speaking during an online commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th. Photograph: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Ruling party accused of pushing nationalist identity politics with ‘New Deal’ programme

Dr Friedrich von Bohlen: “You could ask yourself why America comes now and says let’s pause patent ownership. For the first time in biotech history, two of the three [successful] firms are not from the US.”

Friedrich von Bohlen believes equity and incentives can intensify medical innovation

Drivers wait inside their cars to be immunised at the drive-through Covid-19 vaccination centre in central Poland. Photograph: Rafal Guz/EPA

Many observers see ambitious deal as a sign of ruling coalition’s growing nervousness

 Protesters face riot police as they march  to demonstrate for the rights of Palestinians in Neukoelln district, Berlin on Saturday. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Jewish organisations say they are facing a wave of hate speech and physical attacks

Austria’s chancellor Sebastian Kurz has seen a slide in support for him personally and for his ruling Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP). Photograph:  Peter Kneffel/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sebastian Kurz has hit back at critics in a parliamentary row over alleged cronyism

Brigitte Schmidt, a pastoral worker, blesses a same-sex couple, Nini and Juliana Weinmeister-Bisping, at the Catholic St Johannes XXIII church in Cologne, Germany. Photograph: Andreas Rentz/Getty

Berlin Jesuit priest says he is ‘ashamed of my church’s homophobia’

Wild boar: A case involving damage to football turf has eroded the legal standing of Poland’s constitutional court.  Photograph: Getty Images

Specific case leads to Strasbourg court ruling Warsaw’s highest legal body to be illegal

 A South African health worker administering the Johnson and Johnson  vaccine at Khayelitsha hospital in Cape Town. Photograph. EPA/Nic Bothma

Health minister expects all aged 60 and above to have a vaccine by early June

Olaf Scholz: during an online party conference on Sunday, some 96.5% of SPD delegates backed the centrist as their leader candidate. Photograph: Clemens Bilan/Pool/EPA

Party is struggling for relevance and has slipped to third in polls behind the Greens

People demonstrate against restrictions on abortion law on Women’s Day in Krakow, Poland, on March 8th earlier this year. Photograph: Beata Zawrzel/ NurPhoto via Getty

October’s court ruling outlaws abortions even in the case of foetal abnormalities

European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Photograph: Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty

Rule-of-law tussle between Europe and the Warsaw government intensifies

The selfie with Prince Charming Alexander Schäfer that shattered Henry Frömmichen’s priesthood dream. Photograph: Instagram/Henry Frömmichen

Problems began via selfie to Instagram account – with a church in the background

The Bundestag will vote on legislation for assisted suicide next month. Photograph: Clemens Bilan/EPA

Association of medics has removed a ban on the practice from its code of conduct

A Peng! Collective poster reading  “Your work can save lives, or maximise profits” outside the BioNTech headquarters in Mainz. Photograph: Peng! Collective

Merkel cabinet equivocal on Biden plan

Polish president Andrzej Duda; and Polish ombudsman Adam Bodnar. Photograph: Wojtek Radwanski/AFP via Getty

Official has been a regular critic of government and country’s ‘anti-democratic’ turn

A terrace overlooking the river Spree in Berlin. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP via Getty

Austria and Denmark also planning similar relaxation of rules as optimism returns

 Christian Democratic Union party’s Armin Laschet: “We need to clean out bureaucracy, create a modern and service-oriented state that acts quickly and with foresight.”  Photograph: Stefanie Loos/Bloomberg

Berlin Letter: Election candidate must battle rivals in chancellery bid to succeed Merkel

German finance minister Olaf Scholz (centre), arrives as a witness in front of a parliamentary committee of inquiry investigating the Wirecard scandal. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP

Government does not bear responsibility for large-scale fraud, Bundestag inquiry hears

People at  the corona centre in Duisburg, Germany, where Covid-19 tests as well as vaccinations  are offered. Photograph:  Martin Meissner/AP

Officials say move is due to growing supply of jabs and wish to run down ‘vector’ vaccine supplies

Protesters rally against new legislative measures to rein in the coronavirus pandemic not far from the Reichstag in Berlin. Photograph: Getty

More than 8,000 protesters clash with police outside Reichstag over proposed measures

Before Armin Laschet can reach out to new voters, he has to convince his own centre-right alliance MPs that he is their path back to power, not the opposition benches. Photograph:  Tobias Schwarz/various sources /AFP

New poll puts CDU/CSU alliance down six points to just 21 per cent, seven points behind the opposition Green Party

CDU leader Armin Laschet: Secured just two-thirds support from  his own party board. Photograph: Filip Singer/EPA

Leader of Merkel’s CDU party to head election challenge after Bavarian rival ends bid

Chritian Democratic Union (CDU) leader Armin Laschet. Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/AFP via Getty

Two candidates battle to lead campaign as Germany’s Greens anoint Annalena Baerbock

The leaders of the German Green party Robert Habeck and Annalena Baerbock. Their challenge on the campaign trail is to broaden their appeal without losing their core vote. Photograph: Getty Images

Leaders Baerbock and Habeck have boosted the Green party’s pragmatic profile and pushed membership to record levels

German writer David Safier. Photograph: Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty

Author David Safier has reimagined the leader as a sleuth with a dog named Putin

 In February 2020 Berlin’s ruling Senate, lead by the Social Democratic Party, enacted a law freezing rents for the city’s 1.5 million tenants. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP via Getty

An estimated 330,000 Berliners have been paying reduced rent since last November

Under the proposed legislation, foreign companies dealing in US citizens’ data could be required to obtain a licence from US Department of Commerce before being allowed to continue their transatlantic trade. Photograph: iStock

Proposed Act would introduce a licensing requirement for trading in such data

 German health minister Jens Spahn: “There’s no data yet, so it’s not possible to issue an emergency permit.” Photograph:  EPA/Clemens Bilan

Federal health minister Jens Spahn insists he will wait for EMA approval of Curevac, expected in May or June

Christian Social Union chairman Markus Söder and Christian Democratic Union party chairman Armin Laschet: efforts to jump start the post-Merkel election campaign have become a slow-motion political car crash. Photograph: Clemens Bilan/EPA

Markus Söder and Armin Laschet gear up for Merkel succession battle

The decision will push back the scheduled conclusion of Denmark’s vaccination scheme to early August from July 25th. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty

Move comes after jab’s possible link to very rare blood clot cases, health authorities say

German defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer  and US secretary of defence Lloyd Austin bump elbows to greet each other in Berlin on Tuesday. Photograph: Kay Nietfeld/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Defence secretary confirms Biden’s commitment to Nato with promise to add 500 personnel

 An empty Neumarkt square in Dresden.  Germany’s seven-day incidence rate rose on Tuesday to 140.98, the highest in three months.  Photograph: EPA/Filip Singer

‘Long overdue’ bill will strip the country’s 16 federal states of their competences on health, education and other key areas

CDU leader Armin Laschet and CSU leader Markus Söder. On Sunday, Mr Söder announced  he was ready to go up against his coalition ally in the  race to succeed Angela Merkel following federal elections on September.  Photograph: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg

Party leader shrugs off opinion polls favouring Bavarian rival Söder for nomination

 Armin Laschet, leader of the German Christian Democrats,  can now present himself to the country as the natural successor to Adenauer, Kohl and Merkel. Photograph: Sean Gallup/EPA

Party knows that rejecting him would trigger a third leadership battle in as many years

Markus Söder, leader of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria,  has announced he is ready to enter the race to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photograph: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg

Both leaders of the centre-right parliamentary alliance have announced plans to run

Privacy activist Max Schrems has been invited to appear on April 27th before the Oireachtas justice committee to discuss his complaint against Facebook’s user-data policies

Austrian privacy campaigner says approach is ‘waste of taxpayers’ money’

A deserted tourist attraction, Trabi World, in Berlin. Photograph: Filip Singer/EPA

Decentralised system an impediment to coherent Covid policy, administration argues

The Berlin supermarket was almost empty, but Derek Scally stood accused of blocking the central aisle.  Photograph: Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Berlin Letter: The distinctive accent survived among east Berliners as a badge of honour

German health minister Jens Spahn (right) and Berlin’s health senator Dilek Kalayci (centre) watch 80-year-old vaccinee Rosemarie Langwald getting her second Covid-19 vaccine by vaccinist Tim Ratzloff in the vaccination centre at the fairgriunds in Berlin, on April 5th. Photograph: Michael Kappeler/Pool/AFP via Getty

Cracks are developing in the EU’s joint Covid-19 vaccine procurement programme

Hans Küng: To his critics, he was the most dangerous German-speaking priest since Martin Luther.

Liberal reformer Hans Küng wanted to unify Christian faiths and clashed with Pope Benedict

Gernot Blumel: Minister has criticised how text messages between him and his friend, recovered by prosecutors, had been leaked to the media. Photograph: Thierry Monasse/Getty

Gernot Blümel accused of donations-for-favours scandal and securing job for friend

CDU leader Armin Laschet is seen at an event in Berlin, Germany, last week. Photograph: Clemens Bilan/EPA

German politicians struggle to find the right words to argue for tighter restrictions

Police “wanted” poster of former Wirecard chief operating officer Jan Marsalek. Wirecard declared bankruptcy last year following revelations of deceptive accounting to the tune of €2 billion. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty

The Great Fake asks few awkward questions about patriotism that surrounded Wirecard

 Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz attends a video conference with EU leaders during a virtual EU summit, in Vienna last week.  Photograph:  EPA/Christian Bruna

Solo vaccine run by political wunderkind Sebastian Kurz sours EU relations with Vienna

People line up in front of the vaccination centre at the Arena Treptow in Berlin, Germany, on Wednesday. Photograph: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

Berlin Letter: German obsession with details over bigger picture on display in vaccine rollout

 People sit in the sun in Berlin: From Friday, the city has banned all gatherings of more than two people between 9pm and 5am. Photograph: Maja Hitij/Getty

Merkel seeks coherent policy with other state leaders in effort to reduce Covid third wave

Medical doctor Lisa Federle holds a ‘day-pass’ Covid-19 rapid-test certificate in a cafe in Tübingen, in southern Germany. Photograph: Yann Schreiber/AFP via Getty Images

Tübingen in southwest Germany has started a pilot project to move beyond lockdown

Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Tuesday ‘the only thing that should matter is whether the vaccine is effective and safe, and not where it comes from’. Photograph: Ronald Zak/AP Photo

Decision to loosen lockdown over Easter being reversed due to fears of a third wave

A medical worker holds a vial of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Photograph:  Gints Ivuskans/AFP via Getty Images

Announcement follows similar decision by Canada amid inquiries into blood clot cases

 Christian Democratic Union  party chairman Armin Laschet: prefers a hybrid regime that makes regular, free testing a condition of visits to shops, galleries and other facilities. Photograph: Clemens Bilan

Armin Laschet urges end to Merkel ‘lockdown logic’ as Markus Söder twists knife

German chancellor Angela Merkel shows a step-by-step plan for easing lockdown measures to German finance minister and vice-chancellor Olaf Scholz during a session at the Bundestag last Thursday. Photograph: Stefanie Loos/AFP via Getty Images

Chancellor demanding complete lockdown over third wave but regional leaders demur

Bicyclists roll past apartments so well insulated that they require almost no energy to heat, in the newly developed Bahnstadt neighborhood, in Heidelberg, Germany. Photograph: Felix Schmitt/The New York Times

Mid-sized German cities are successfully merging sustainable planning with citizen buy-in

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