Democracy and rights
Germany is considered one of the most
developed democracies in the world. Civil and political
rights are protected in the Constitution and respected
in practice. The media has an independent position and
can operate freely, like the courts in the country while
the life of the association is flourishing.
The general elections, which are held every four
years, are considered by judges to be free of influence
and properly and fairly conducted. The electoral law is
fair and impartial and there is a general right to vote
from the age of 18. However, about eight million German
residents do not have the right to vote, even though
they have lived in the country for a long time, because
they are not German citizens. In order to become a
citizen you have to cancel your citizenship in your home
country. About 8 percent of the members of the Bundestag
had immigrant backgrounds after the 2017 election. At
the same time, the proportion of women in Parliament had
dropped to 30.9 percent, which was the lowest level
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Germany, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
The country's many parties can act without hindrance
and civil society also plays an important role in
society and has many members of the population.
There are protections in the Constitution that have been
introduced in the light of Germany's Nazi past and
should prevent a similar development from being
repeated. It is possible to ban organizations that are
considered to threaten democracy. This also applies to
political parties. It has not happened since 1956 that
no party has been banned.
There is freedom of assembly and demonstration, but
applications to be allowed to demonstrate can be refused
if it is considered a threat to public safety or if it
is prohibited groups behind.
Corruption is not a big problem. Germany is among the
dozens of countries in the world that have the least
corruption according to the organization Transparency
International's ranking list (see here). There are
anti-corruption laws that work relatively well, although
Transparency International's German local organization
has criticized the regulations for lobbying and pressure
on MEPs for being insufficient. The Council of Europe's
anti-corruption body has also felt that there is too
little transparency and transparency regarding the
financing of political parties.
Terrorist movements have continued to be seen as a
threat to the country's security and surveillance has
tightened, not least after the Paris 2015 attacks. New
legislation in 2016 made it easier for the authorities
to expel foreign nationals convicted of crime and the
opportunities to monitor suspected terrorists increased.
The number of people investigated and charged with
suspected terrorist activities has increased
significantly. In 2014, the government banned all forms
of support for the Islamic State (IS) extremist
movement. Germany is one of the countries in Europe that
has had the most citizens, up to 700 according to some
sources, who have joined militant movements such as IS
in Syria and Iraq.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, the fight
against terrorism has been an important priority in
Germany. Some of the members of the al-Qaeda terrorist
network that carried out the terrorist attacks against
the United States on September 11, 2001 had lived in
Hamburg for some time. Following the attacks, Germany,
like several other countries, introduced stricter
During the 2010s, refugee flows and immigration have
presented the country with new challenges, which has led
to the rise of right-wing extremist movements while
gaining popularity, while anti-Semitism has also grown.
Freedom of expression and media
The media plays an important role in the German
social debate and can freely convey different views.
Freedom of speech and press is enshrined in the
constitution, but statements that support Nazism or
encourage racism are prohibited.
German freedom of speech does not include the denial of
mass murder of Jews during World War II or statements
that encourage racial hatred and Nazism.
There is legislation that gives access to public
documents, but according to Reporters Without Borders,
it has more gaps than many other countries' laws.
Germany has in recent years commuted from place 12
and up to 17 on Reporters Without Borders list of press
freedom (see list here.) Since 2015, the organization
has mentioned in its reports an "alarming trend" where
German journalists are physically attacked or harassed.
In 2017, a controversial social networking law came
into force to stop posting on social media that could be
considered hate speech against people or slander. Social
media companies can face high fines if they do not
quickly remove banned material. Journalists and press
freedom organizations have warned that the law may have
a negative impact on freedom of expression on the
There are no restrictions on freedom of expression on
the internet and no censorship exists.
Judicial system and legal security
Germany has a well-functioning judiciary that is
independent of the executive and legislative powers. The
Constitution guarantees the right to a fair and public
trial. After terrorist attacks in 2016, Germany has
adopted stricter legislation to fight terrorism. For
example, the police have increased authority to act on
suspected persons who are considered to be a security
Criticism against the president of the federation
Christian Wulff is accused of lying during his time as head of government in
Lower Saxony about his contacts with a businessman in connection with a property
purchase. Wulff said in 2010 that in ten years he had no business with a
designated multi-millionaire, but according to new information in the press,
Wulff in 2008 borrowed money from the husband's wife. When the newspaper Bild
asks critical questions about the loan, Wulff threatens the newspaper with
"war". The opposition calls for the president's resignation, but he gets
Chancellor Merkel's support.
Yes to crisis fund
The Bundestag voted by an overwhelming majority to strengthen the eurozone
crisis fund EFSF.
Rescue grants do not violate the Constitution
The Constitutional Court finds that Germany's contribution to the rescue
packages promised to crisis-stricken euro countries is constitutional. The Court
states that future aid loans must also be approved by the Bundestag.
State election in Merkel's home state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
The election will be another loss for the government coalition. The CDU goes
backwards and the FDP falls out of parliament. Despite the hardship, the CDU can
continue to reign in coalition with the SPD. The Greens are entering the state
parliament for the first time, which means that they are now represented in all
Former Nazi sentenced to prison
91-year-old John Demanjuk is sentenced to five years in prison for assisting
in the murder of tens of thousands of Jews during World War II. However, the
Ukrainian-born former prison guard, who is sentenced to his denial, is released,
given his high age. Demanjuk was a guard in the Sobibor concentration camp in
Poland, and the prosecutor believes it is proven that he, as a Soviet prisoner
of war, participated in the murders of at least 28,000 people in 1943. In the
1980s, Demanjuk was convicted in Israel as "Ivan the Terrible" - a notorious
guard in the Treblinka camp. However, new information about his identity caused
him to be released in 1993.
New decision on nuclear power
In connection with major demonstrations against nuclear power, the government
parties decide that all the country's 17 reactors should be shut down by 2022,
which had been decided in 2001. The eight reactors that were stopped after the
nuclear accident in Japan should not be restarted. (see also October 2010)
FDP appoints new party leader
After the difficult election losses, FDP Philipp Rösler, health minister in
Merkel's government, chooses a new leader. He takes over the posts as Minister
of Technology and Finance and Vice Chancellor of former FDP leader Guido
CDU loses the government power in Baden-Württemberg
The CDU and the FDP go back strongly in the Baden-Württemberg state
elections, while the Greens go strong forward. Together with the SPD, they
receive a majority in the state assembly. The CDU loses the government power in
Baden-Württemberg after 58 years and also loses the election in
Rhineland-Palatinate, where the Greens will be in parliament for the first time.
After the Saxony-Anhalt elections, the CDU and the SPD can continue to rule in a
major coalition in the state. The FDP leaves the parliaments in both
Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt.
The government stops older nuclear reactors
Following the nuclear accident in Japan the same month, the German government
stops the operation of eight older nuclear reactors. Merkel announces that
Germany will make an "organized exit" from the nuclear power community and says
that the goal is a society with only renewable energy as soon as possible. (see
also October 2010)
The Minister of Defense resigns
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg from CSU leaves his post because of plagiarism
charges. He is accused of plagiarizing large parts of his dissertation. His
departure is a serious hardship for Merkel. zu Guttenberg was the government's
most popular minister and was seen as a likely successor to Merkel.
Defeat for the Christian Democrats in Hamburg
In the Hamburg state elections, the SPD is strongly moving forward. CDU loses
big and gets just under 22 percent of the vote, compared to just over 42 percent
in the 2008 election. CDU has never before backed so much between two elections.
The CDU also loses the mandate of the Federal Council through the loss in