German chancellor Angela Merkel has been a force of sense and stability for two decades in Berlin. Photograph: Omer Messinger/EPA

Germany’s biggest party faces a leadership crisis that dares not speak its name

German chancellor Angela Merkel: ‘I have to take greater care that trust exists and that the results of our work become visible.’ Photograph: Alexander Becher/EPA

More election disaster looms for CDU as chancellor moves into damage-limitation mode

Jakub Urbanik, one of the complainants  bringing a case   against Kaja Godek for comments she made about homosexuals. Photograph: Marek Misiurewicz

Kaja Godek is being sued by 16 LGBTI+ people over comments on the Taoiseach

German musical duo Michael  and Marianne Hartl at the opening of a new Maserati showroom in Munich. Photograph: Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images

Rich Land, Poor Land: It is Europe’s largest economy, the EU’s biggest donor, and home to 120 billionaires

Bavarian governor Markus Söder and German interior minister Horst Seehofer, at  a final election rally in Munich, on Friday.  Photograph:  Christof  Stache/AFP/Getty Images

A last-minute miracle seems to be the only possibility now for the German chancellor

Chief justice Malgorzata Gersdorf: “No government likes judges but they tolerate them.” Photograph: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Malgorzata Gersdorf refuses to leave her job and accuses the government of ‘wanting to be sheriff’

Leo Varadkar: During a TV debate in Poland five days after Ireland’s abortion referendum, anti-abortion guest Kaja Godek called the Taoiseach –  and all homosexual people – ‘perverted’. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Defamation case will decide line between freedom of expression and hate speech

One of the complainants in the case Jakub Urbanik outside court. Photograph: Marek Misiurewicz

Kaja Godek in May described Taoiseach’s homosexuality as a ‘perversion’ during television discussion

Wojciech Smarzowski’s “Kler” is based almost exclusively on real stories of predatory priests, sadistic nuns and alcoholic archbishops. Photograph: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Warsaw Letter: ‘Kler’ church paedophilia and corruption plot points finger at passivity

The ruling came after a case taken by German environment lobby group DUH. Photograph: Getty

Hamburg has already imposed bans and Frankfurt and Stuttgart to follow

The CSU’s Markus Soeder and Munich’s mayor, Dieter Reiter, at Oktoberfest. Photograph: Peter Kneffel/AFP/Getty Images

Poor showings for her centre-right alliance could catalyse her transition out of power

After a major redevelopment and expansion, the Goethe-Institut Irland’s Georgian Headquarters at 37 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 has  reopened

After a multimillion-euro renovation, the arts institute is ready to spearhead a renaissance

A traffic sign banning diesel cars is pictured at the Max-Brauer Allee in Hamburg, Germany. File photograph: Fabian Bimmer

Car bosses urge politicians to back purchase incentives instead of costly recall and refit

Cristiano Ronaldo has said claims that he raped a woman in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009 are fake news. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Portuguese footballer is accused of raping a woman at a Las Vegas hotel in 2009

Lawyers for Cristiano Ronaldo on Friday said they would sue Der Spiegel for publishing “blatantly illegal” accusations. Photograph: Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Juventus star denies he assaulted 34-year-old American at Las Vegas hotel in 2009

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German chancellor Angela Merkel: Mr Erdogan irritated his hosts by demanding the extradition of dozens of Turkish citizens. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch

Despite professed goodwill, ‘profound differences’ weigh on Turkish president’s trip

The newly elected parliamentary group leader of the CDU/CSU faction, Ralph Brinkhaus. Photograph: Clemens Bilan/EPA

Disgruntled CDU backbenchers send signal to chancellor and further erode her power

 Cardinal Reinhard Marx speaks to the media after a press conference  in Fulda, Germany. Photograph: Armando Babani/EPA

New report details cases of 3,677 children abused by clerics over nearly 70 years

Austrian interior minister Herbert Kickl: facing calls for his resignation over “carrot-and-stick policy” to bring journalists into line.    Photograph: Florian Wieser/EPA

Far-right-controlled interior ministry calls for police to limit dealings with critical media

Swedish prime minister Stefan Lofven is to step down after he lost a mandatory confidence vote in parliament. Photograph:  Jonas Ekstromer/EPA

Attempts now begin to find new prime minister who can command parliamentary majority

German chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement following an agreement over the weekend on the fate of domestic intelligence head Hans-Georg Maassen, in Berlin. Photograph: Michele Tantussi/Getty Images

Latest government row is frustrating voters and driving support for the far-right

 Pamela Rendi-Wagner, on left, must redefine the party’s identity and win back the traditional working class vote captured by far-right populists. Photograph: Hans PunZ/AFP/Getty Images

Pamela Rendi-Wagner has been thrust into a tough role – to revive the country’s ailing centre-left

A sign in Hamburg  banning  older diesel cars from selected streets.

Chancellor reportedly changed her mind to favour retrofitting engines to cut emissions

German peasants crowd around Adolf Hitler’s car as he is driven into Berchtesgaden on September 9, 1934. Photograph: AP Photo/File

Unpublished insights show how fascism swept through inter-war Germany

Leader of the Social Democratic Party Andrea Nahles, centre, her spokeswoman Lena Daldrup, left, and an aide. Photograph: Hayoung Jeon/EPA

Also, Merkel’s alliance slips to 28%, its lowest-ever level of support in the poll’s history

Hans-Georg Maassen (left) with German interior minister Horst Seehofer. Photograph: Hayoung Jeon/EPA

Rank-and-file SPD members livid with deal seen as another humiliation for their party

Hans-Georg Maassen: Germany’s domestic intelligence chief has been moved from his post after questioning the authenticity of a video appearing to show  a vigilante attack.  Photograph: Clemens Bilan/EPA

Hans-Georg Maassen removed from office after playing down far-right role in Chemnitz unrest

Pope Francis has called an emergency meeting of bishops’ conference heads  from across the world next February. Photograph: Max Rossi/Reuters

Meeting of bishops in February called as report on abuse by German clerics emerges

Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier, who was appointed head of German Catholic efforts to investigate the scale of abuse in church ranks,  described the results as “depressing and shameful for us”. File photograph: Torsten Silz/AFP/Getty Images

Study finds evidence of nearly 4,000 cases of abuse, and says it ‘continues to take place’

Martin Schulz of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) speaks after AfD joint leader Alexander Gauland delivered his speech during a Bundestag session. Photograph: Hayoung Jeon/EPA

Party berated in Bundestag for supporting demonstrations featuring neo-Nazis

Social Democrats prime minister Stefan Löfven. All “decent” parties in Sweden had a moral responsibility to try new things for a stable government, he said. Photograph: Getty Images

No amount of Muslim scare stories could lift far-right above symbolic 20 per cent mark

Prime minister and leader of Social Democrat party Stefan Löfven: “The Sweden Democrats don’t have anything to offer . . . [only] growing divisions and hatred.” Photograph: Jonas Ekstršmer/TT

Stefan Löfven under pressure to resign as four-party Alliance rejects invitation to talks

People hold lighters aloft after a mourning march in Köthen on September 9th. Officials pleaded for calm after two Afghans were detained on suspicion of killing a German man. Photograph:  Odd Andersen/AFP

German (22) allegedly killed following dispute with two Afghans in Köthen

Leader of the far-right Sweden Democrats Jimmy Akesson speaks to members and supporters at the party following the party’s gains. Photograph: Michael Campanella/Getty Images

Sweden Democrats, a party with Nazi roots and anti-immigrant agenda, takes almost 18%

Leader of the far-right Sweden Democrats Jimmy Akesson speaks to members and supporters at the party following the party’s gains. Photograph: Getty Images

Results indicate that 30-year-old party with Nazi roots has taken almost 20% of vote

A cyclist passes near election campaign posters for the Liberal Party in Stockholm, Sweden. Photograph: Mikael Sjoberg/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Sunday’s election hinges on whether Swedes still believe social solidarity defines their country

Sweden’s prime minister Stefan Lövfen campaigning in the Farsta neighbourhood in Stockholm: has appealed to voters to “vote for a stable government capable of leading Sweden in uncertain times”. Photograph: Daniel Dickson

Analysts predict far-right Sweden Democrats will block pure left or right government

Sweden Democrats party leader Jimmie Akesson: With almost one million voters still undecided, no one is sure whether the SD can reverse a last-minute slide in support for an election-night surprise. Photograph: TT News Agency/Johan Nilsson

Far-right Sweden Democrats backed by elements linking rape and violence with migrants

Rinkeby suburb of Stockholm: 90 per cent of people living there are foreign-born. There is a jobless rate three times the Stockholm average. Photograph: Kyodo News via Getty Images

Far-right party blames migration for social problems but the reality is more complex

Supporters of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement  demonstrate in Kungsholmstorg square in Stockholm, Sweden. Photograph: Fredrik Persson Sweden Out/EPA

Neo-Nazis rally in Stockholm amid attacks by migrants on Jewish communities

Demonstrators attend a vigil to protest against racism. Photograph: Alexander Becher/EPA

Between two camps – neo-Nazis and anti-fascists – stood 700 nervous police

Riot police in Chemnitz, eastern Germany, after a 35-year-old German national died in hospital following a ‘dispute between several people of different nationalities’, according to the police. Photograph: Andreas Seidel/ AFP

Police struggle to contain clashes in Chemnitz after two migrant suspects arrested

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney addresses the media during a press conference in Germany. Photograph: AP

Tánaiste hopes Border backstop will not be required but it is an ‘insurance mechanism’

 Waiting passengers of   Deutsche Bahn reflected in the window of a train at a Munich station. If everyone sat wherever they liked, even on an empty train, where would that leave us?  Photograph: Johannes Simon/Getty Images

Berlin Letter: There is an endless German appetite for critical comment from outsiders

German chancellor Angela Merkel  and Russian president Vladimir Putin following talks  in Sochi, Russia, in May 2017. Photograph: Reuters

The two are due to discuss Syria, Ukraine and Nord Stream 2 at a crucial summit

Germany’s interior minister  Horst Seehofer: insists he did not intervene in the Aidoudi deportation but has described it as legal and “politically important”. Photograph: Carsten Koall/Getty

‘Clearly illegal’ sending home of Sami Aidoudi raises questions about rule of law

 Refugees, mostly from Syria and Afghanistan, at the Westbahnhof train station in Vienna in September 2015. Photograph:   Christoph Schlessmann/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Man’s application rejected as authorities say he did not walk, dress or act like he was gay

Analysts said the German economy was “alive and kicking”, with a robust performance driven by both stronger consumer spending and state investment

Warning that unresolved trade concerns and Turkish currency crisis could change things quickly

Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1998. Tunisian national Sami Aidoudi has consistently denied having any contact with the al-Qaeda founder. File Photograph: AP

Tunisian Sami Aidoudi says he was ‘kidnapped’ by Germany and faces torture at home

German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday. A remark by  regional governor Daniel Günther  forced her to act swiftly. Photograph: Adam Berry/AFP/Getty Images

The Left Party has spent almost three decades on Bundestag opposition benches

German chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez at a press conference in southern Spain. Photograph: A Carrasco Ragel/EPA

Chancellor wants ‘fairer’ burden-sharing to more evenly distribute refugees in Europe

 A dried-out portion of the Elbe riverbed that under normal conditions would be submerged under water, during hot weather in Magdeburg, Germany. Shrinking rivers are exposing munitions left over from the second World War. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Farmers at wits’ end with crops that have struggled to grow since last substantial rain in May

Supporters of the German Anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) protest  in May 2018: the party is the subject of a very critical book.  Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

Franziska Schreiber’s exposé claims party plays on fears in drift towards extremism

CDU party secretary general Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer speaks with  chancellor and leader of the party Angela Merkel. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

Berlin Letter: Military or civil service was abolished in 2011 – and some want it back

German chancellor Angela Merkel and husband Joachim Sauer (in white) enjoy the music of Richard Wagner in Bayreuth, southern Germany. Photograph: Matthias Balk

Chancellor’s break from predictable vacation pattern sparks rash of speculation

German interior minister Horst Seehofer: rejects media claims Bavaria’s new centralised migration facilities are “concentration camps”. Photograph: Hannibal Hanschke

Stability coming under pressure of hard right- and left-wing movements

Römerberg square in Frankfurt, where reconstructed medieval houses and buildings complementary to the historical streetscape replaced a 1970s block. Photograph: Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images

Frankfurt Letter: ‘New old town’ installed as urban regeneration threatens communities

Angela Merkel and  Donald Trump at a Nato  summit  in Brussels on  July 11th.  Many are asking why has Germany become the president’s public enemy number one? Photograph: Bloomberg

The US has not invented new problems but has pointed out inconsistencies in Germany’s trade, foreign and defence policies

Asylum seekers at the reception and deportation centre for refugees in Regensburg in Bavaria. Photograph: Lukas Barth-Tuttas/EPA

Agencies based in ‘anchor centres’ to take hardline approach, state premier says

Dried sunflowers are pictured in a field in eastern Germany. Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

Germany may face crop shortfalls as farming body warns of ‘worst harvest of the century’

Members of the Jewish community in Vienna sense a growing hostility in their city, with three orthodox Jewish men attacked on a street last month. Photo by Josef Polleross/ASAblanca via Getty Images

Proposal by regional leader of far-right Freedom Party condemned by Jewish groups

Mesut Özil meeting the president of Turkey  Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Londaon last may. Photograph: AFP Skayhan Ozer/AFP/Getty Images

Arsenal star’s shock retirement from international football has Germany talking about race and identity in an era of rising nation(...)

Participants wear “Stop transphobia” stickers at Berlin’s annual Christopher Street Day gay pride parade on July 22nd, 2017. Photograph: John MacDougall

As city stages pride march, fears mount that tolerance is yielding to violence and unease

Anne Sofie von Otter. Her husband, Benny Fredriksson, took his life after Sweden’s Aftonbladet newspaper printed anonymous accusations against him. Photograph: Brill/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Anne Sofie von Otter blames her country’s cultural herd mentality for husband’s suicide

Beate Zschäpe stands beside her lawyer Mathias Grasen as Judge Manfred Goetze delivers a guilty verdict in her trial on 10 counts of murder and 34 counts of attempted murder in Munich on Wednesday. Photograph: Peter Kneffel/via AP

Beate Zschäpe sentenced in case that exposed police racism and staggering incompetence

Three young Germans stage a show of solidarity with Jewish people after a spate of anti-Semitic assaults in April. Photograph: Gregor Fischer/AFP/Getty Images

Ten detained after Jewish man from Syria wearing Star of David is beaten up in Berlin

German interior minister and leader of the CSU, Horst Seehofer. Photograph: Axel Schmidt/Reuters

Horst Seehofer warned European Commission of security risks posed by its Brexit stance

 German border police check cars at the control station Schwarzbach on the motorway between Salzburg and Munich. Photograph: EPA/Kerstin Joensson

Berlin's questioning of the principle of free movement in Europe will have a huge fallout

German interior minister Horst Seehofer and German chancellor Angela Merkel at a cabinet meeting in Berlin. Photograph: Axel Schmidt/Reuters

Compromise does away with ‘transit centres’ and seeks to avoid undermining Schengen

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban and German chancellor Angela Merkel: Asked about policy to criminalise people deemed to have aided illegal immigration, Mr Orban said his country pursued “humane” policies. Photograph: Clemens Bilan/EPA

PM claims Hungary being misunderstood in efforts to protect Europe and Schengen zone

Leader of the Social Democratic Party Andrea Nahles speaking in the Bundestag in Berlin on Wednesday. Photograph:  Hayoung Jeon/EPA

Merkel’s coalition partner rejects ‘asylum seekers behind guarded fences’ in heated Bundestag debate

Polish supreme court president Malgorzata Gersdorf walks to the court building, surrounded by supporters, in Warsaw on Wednesday. Photograph: Maciej Jazwiecki/Agencja Gazeta via Reuters

Court president Malgorzata Gersdorf goes to work in defiance of judicial reforms

 German chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for a party leadership meeting at the CDU headquarters in Berlin on Monday. Photograph: Michael Kappeler/AFP/Getty Images

Chancellor’s legacy tied forever to refugee hand she played on principled hunch

Austria’s chancellor Sebastian Kurz: will “not sign any treaties with Germany to Austria’s detriment”. Photograph: Georg Hochmuth/AFP/Getty

Berlin asylum control prompts Austria, Italy and Czech Republic to talk of tighter borders

 German interior minister Horst Seehofer: had threatened to resign unless Angela  Merkel agreed to tighter national border checks. Photograph: Alexander Becher/EPA

Vienna rejects proposal to pass asylum seekers back over Austrian border

German chancellor and CDU leader Angela Merkel and German interior minister and leader of the Bavarian CSU  Horst Seehofer sit side by side after yesterday’s agreement. Photograph: Getty Images

What Angela Merkel has proposed in an 11th-hour agreement

German interior minister and leader of the Bavarian CSU Horst Seehofer. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

Everything at stake for Merkel unless she can tame her Bavarian political allies the CSU

German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaves after a party leadership meeting at the CDU headquarters in Berlin. Photograph: Omer Messinger/AFP/Getty Images

Germany’s interior minister offered to resign over EU deal to tackle immigration

“She’s wrecked”: German chancellor Angela Merkel. Photograph: Axel Schmidt/Reuters

Never-ending crises take toll on Merkel as gloss comes off football team and economy

German chancellor and leader of the Christian Democratic Union Angela Merkel and party members at a leadership meeting at the CDU headquarters in Berlin. Photograph:  John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images

CSU yet to accept EU proposals while minister pledges to begin turning back migrants

Refugees wait for a special train in Freilassing, southern Germany, in September 2015 after they were taken off express trains from Hungary and Austria. Photograph: Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

High-stakes stand-off in Berlin as Merkel’s Bavarian allies decide on support for EU deal

German chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at an European Union summit in Brussels, Belgium on Thursday. Photograph:  Virginia Mayo/Pool via REUTERS

Even if German chancellor gets a reprieve on Sunday, her political obituary is written

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, French president Emmanuel Macron, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban and German chancellor Angela Merkel at an EU summit   breakfast meeting in Brussels. Photograph: Virginia Mayo/AP

EU members at summit agree on processing centres for refugees and to bolster Frontex

 Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel: believes the refugee crisis can only be solved through European co-operation.   Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

ZDF finds 61% of Germans expect chancellor to beat challenge from Bavarian allies

Austria’s president Alexander Van der Bellen (right), Belarus’ president Alexander Lukashenko (centre) and German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier  at the former Nazi Maly Trostenets death camp  outside Minsk. Photograph:  Getty Images

Steinmeier in Belarus to attend opening of memorial at Maly Trostenets camp where 60,000 Jews died

German chancellor Angela Merkel after her speech to the German Bundestag in Berlin. Photograph: Clemens Bilan/EPA

German chancellor under increasing pressure to secure comprehensive EU-wide deal

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez  in Berlin, June 26th.  Photograph: Reuters/Hannibal Hanschke

Merkel’s CSU coalition partner threatens to close borders in days to asylum seekers

German chancellor Angela Merkel: Forsa poll shows 71 per cent of Germans – and 68 per cent of Bavarians – support her push for a European solution to the refugee crisis ahead of the CSU push for national solutions. Photograph: Eric Vidal/Reuters

Observers suggest CSU demands on German chancellor may be running out of steam

Former FBI director James Comey  backstage before a panel discussion about his book “A Higher Loyalty” earlier this week in Berlin. Photographs:  Carsten Koall/Getty Images

The former FBI director on Donald Trump, the 2016 US election, and history’s verdict

German chancellor Angela Merkel: if she fired interior minister Horst Seehofer, she would  collapse her fourth-term coalition after little more than 100 days.  Photograph; Christian Bruna

Row about asylum seekers sharpens between CDU and centre-right Bavarian allies CSU

Nina Hynes: ‘Our sense of worth became about how much we were earning, as opposed to valuing a piece of music or art on its own merits.’

Craw festival in Berlin will explore solutions to Ireland’s social problems

German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron: Mr Macron envisions a €300 billion fund but Dr Merkel one of only “low double-digits”. Photograph: Michele Tantussi/Getty

Despite vast differences on capacity of fund, Macron remains ‘pragmatic’ about numbers

Students at the Globe Business College in Munich. While Globe attracts students from all over the world many have gone on to study in Ireland

Set up in 2006 by Dubliner Susan Walsh, the Globe Business College in Munich is fostering Irish-Bavarian business relations

 Prime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte shakes hands with German chancellor Angela Merkel: exploration of a bilateral refugee deal. Photograph: Clemens Bilan

Emmanuel Macron to arrive in Berlin on Tuesday for latest round of crisis diplomacy

US president Donald Trump concludes his remarks at a meeting of the National Space Council at the White House in Washington, on Monday. Photograph:  Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Comments come amid heavy criticism over intensifying child separation row

German chancellor Angela Merkel: CDU conservatives opposed to her  refugee policies have welcomed the pressure on her from Horst Seehofer. Photograph: Christian Bruna

Chancellor denies CDU allies in Bavaria blackmailing her to back tougher asylum rules

Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler was arrested on Monday for his alleged role in the Volkswagen Group’s diesel cheating scandal

VW has backed and promoted Rupert Stadler despite calls for his resignation

Jaroslaw Kaczynski in July 2017. Mr Kaczynski was released from hospital earlier this month after more than a month in treatment, according to the health minister.  Photograph: Agencja Gazeta/Slawomir Kaminski/via Reuters

Jaroslaw Kaczynski last seen in public in April and was said to be suffering from arthritis in knee

 German chancellor Angela Merkel and  interior minister Horst Seehofer. If Mr Seehofer pushes through his tighter asylum rules as promised on Monday that will force Dr Merkel to fire him

The border question in Germany remains unresolved since the refugee crisis

On Monday, federal interior minister Horst Seehofer from Bavaria (above) will present a new migration plan to close German borders to asylum-seekers arriving from other EU countries. File photograph: Clemens Bilan/EPA

Minister to present new plan to close borders to asylum-seekers arriving from EU countries

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