July 1, 2021 is a special day for the former member states of the Warsaw Pact – the day marks the 30th anniversary of the disintegration of the military alliance. At Vaclav Havel’s invitation, Czechoslovak President, the official document heralding the end of the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact was signed in the Černín Palace in Prague on July 1, 1991. This closed a historic chapter for the eight member states of the Eastern alliance.
In the years 2019/20, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom reminded of the “peaceful freedom revolutions” (H.-D. Genscher), which took place 30 years ago and which were most symbolically manifested in the fall of the Berlin Wall and the German reunification, in the form of various events and publications. However, this revolutionary democratic change did not spread across the whole continent.
So far, the COVID-19 pandemic has had little effect on the German housing market. It has left barely a mark on real estate prices or rentals. But the pandemic is not over yet, and even if it was: the past months have triggered some developments that will transform our working world and are likely to have a considerable impact on the housing market in the long term.
In recent months, many countries have introduced enormous stimulus packages to help their economies overcome the devastation caused by the COVID-19 crisis. In Germany, the government made available emergency funds, created sector-specific relief programmes, and implemented demand stimulus measures such as a temporary reduction in the sales tax rate.
After having spent more than two hundred pages on Kantian philosophy, Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister, and a number of obscure German Pietists, Jennifer A. Herdt hurls the reader of her newest book back into a seemingly very different present.
The Czech Chamber of Deputies’ decision to introduce a high quota for domestically produced food in large shops from 2022 also belongs in these ranks: especially in times of crisis like these, more self-sufficiency must be achieved in the long term.
Berlin’s recently introduced rent control policy is Germany’s single most stringent rent regulation tool. The law prohibits any rental increases for a period of five years. In the case of new rentals, the rent a landlord is allowed to charge is determined by fixed reference values based on the age and fittings of the unit in question.
Refugee policy has gained momentum. In the run-up to the EU summit, the EU Commission wants to accommodate the representatives of the Central European countries of the Visegrad Group (V4): “Flexible solidarity” is the motto.
The transfer of data from the EU to the US violates the right to privacy as well as European data protection laws because data are not sufficiently protected against interception by US agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA) or the FBI.
In June 2020, the German cabinet introduced a regulation banning certain single-use products made of plastic; the European Union had already introduced a similar regulation in May 2019. In future, the sale of products such as throwaway plastic cutlery, plates, straws and cotton buds will be prohibited.