Refugees in Germany: Eritreans are calling for family reunification

The war in Ethiopia increases the danger for Eritrean refugees there. Pro Asyl calls for an end to the German “inhumane visa practice”.

Demonstration of Eritrean refugees for the right to family reunification in Berlin Foto: Florian Boillot

BERLIN taz | “Visa instead of boats. Life instead of death ”is written on a poster that Eritrean refugees hold up in front of the Foreign Office. For two days and two cold nights, around 40 Eritrean refugees hold a permanent vigil in front of the Federal Foreign Office in the middle of the corona pandemic. They demand the entry of their relatives.

Mostly it is men who made it to Germany, were granted asylum here and then applied for family reunification. Their wives and children remain in neighboring countries in Africa, mostly in Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya and Uganda.

You do have a legal right to family reunification, but the German diplomatic missions abroad keep putting it off. You have to wait a year for an appointment to apply for family reunification. Then there are always bureaucratic hurdles. Most of the time, the German diplomats are not satisfied with the documents proving the family ties that Eritreans have. This is due to the fact that in Eritrea marriages and births are usually only officially certified and, according to the Federal Government’s response to a request from the left, German diplomats are not qualified to check these church documents for authenticity.

The situation is exacerbated by the civil war in Eritrea’s neighboring country, Ethiopia. Because for the vast majority of Eritrean women and children, the civil war province of Tigray, which borders on Eritrea, is a place of refuge. They are now particularly at risk, and that is why their men are putting pressure on the Foreign Office.

Conscripts as cannon fodder

Martina Mauer from the Berlin Refugee Council reports from MK, an affected person from Burscheid in North Rhine-Westphalia, who cannot attend the vigil for health reasons: “He has lived here since 2017 and received asylum three months after entering the country. While he was waiting for his wife and daughters to join them at the age of six and twelve, his wife fell ill and died in 2019. “Since then, the daughters have lived alone in the refugee camp in Tigray.

“Occasionally an uncle comes to camp. At the moment, Mr. MK cannot call his daughters because there is no connection. ”According to Martina Mauer, after several worried weeks, a telephone contact with another camp resident who had to walk into the mountains to have a telephone network would finally have been established. “The man was able to find out that his daughters are still living in the camp and are unharmed.” The date for the family reunification was actually October 2020, said Mauer. But that did not take place because of Corona.

The organization Pro Asyl and the national refugee councils support the demands of the Eritreans. “We call for the inhumane visa practice in the German diplomatic missions to be changed immediately and to ensure that the relatives of Eritrean refugees waiting for family reunification can enter the country quickly,” said a statement. “To do this, the procedures have to be made less bureaucratic and accelerated, and alternative evidence of identity and family ties must be recognized. This is particularly true, but not only for the people affected by the civil war in Ethiopia. “

In the meantime, the federal government replied to a question from MP Ulla Jelpke (Left) that it did not want to change the requirements for family reunification from Eritrea.

Around 40,000 Eritrean citizens live in Germany. Around 1,100 of them have come together in the “Eritrea family reunification” initiative. But many others are also concerned about their parents and siblings, for whom there is no right to family reunification, because of the Ethiopian civil war. The dictatorship in Eritrea supports the Ethiopian central government against the independence movements of the Tigray province.

Eritrean Berliners like Freweney Habtemariam from the Berlin-based association Eridac e. V. report that Eritrean conscripts had to support the Ethiopian central government as cannon fodder when they marched into the province of Tigray and that Eritrean refugees from Tigray were kidnapped back to Eritrea. That is not confirmed. However, several cannon impacts in Eritrea have been confirmed.


in the qualification phase for Euro 2022, France is atomizing Kazakhstan

The Bleues de Corinne Deacon have offered themselves a health walk despite a reshaped team, Tuesday 1is December against Kazakhstan (12-0), at the end of a qualifying phase for Euro 2022 as successful on the ground as stormy outside.

At the Rabine stadium, the usual home of RC Vannes rugby players, the Bleues delivered a score closer to the oval than the round ball, without however succeeding in reaching the 14 goals of the selection record in an official match.

Despite this, eyes were less on the scoreboard, already raised to 6-0 after seventeen minutes, than on the stands where almost all of the Lyonnaises had taken place, starting with Wendie Renard and Amandine Henry seated side by side.

Read also Football: victorious over Austria (3-0), the Blue qualify for the Euro

“Rotation” of the players

The captain of the France team appeared with a closed face, moved during a Marseillaise that she is more used to listening from the lawn, armband on her arm. But her coach, with whom she has been in open conflict for several weeks, had preferred Charlotte Bilbault, who came to a press conference the day before.

Read also Football: despite his criticism against the coach, captain Amandine Henry recalled to the France team

Corinne Deacon had certainly announced a « rotation » allowing players to breathe life into the calendar loaded by the Champions League at the end of the year. But she only half applied her logic.

If the Lyonnaises were indeed substitutes, with the exception of Amel Majri, this was not the case for the Parisiennes. Left to rest on Friday, during the qualification against Austria (3-0), Kadidiatou Diani was logically aligned. What was less was the presence of Grace Geyoro and Marie-Antoinette Katoto, holders four days ago at Guingamp. After his double at Guingamp, Katoto did it again at Vannes (12e, 16e) with a landmark celebration for the first goal.

Read also Football: “Fear”, “total chaos” … Amandine Henry castigates the “management” of Corinne Deacon

Katoto’s “heart”

The young Parisian striker drew a heart with her fingers in the direction of Amandine Henry who replied with a raised hand, the smile found. This gesture as spontaneous as it was unexpected will remain the most striking of a one-sided encounter against the 77e world nation, unable to register a single point in this qualifying phase.

From an individual point of view, however, she allowed Bordeaux defenders Eve Perisset (33e) and Estelle Cascarino (50e) to score their first goal for the French team, just like the Parisian defender Perle Morroni (67e) and Atlético Madrid striker Emelyne Laurent (58e), entry at break.

This is also the case for PSG striker Sandy Baltimore (72e) on the evening of his first selection and Paris FC scorer Clara Matéo (83e) who, for his part, celebrated his second cape three days after his 23e anniversary.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also At the Blue, a worrying “match” between the coach Corinne Deacon and the Lyonnaises

First place in the group

The France team can close on this river score a well-conducted qualifying phase, ended with 44 goals scored and none conceded. The sporting record will not eclipse, however, the peaks of tension which marked this gathering between Deacon and his captain mainly, but not only.

Qualification in hand, with the first place in the group as a bonus, the coach will have to tackle the more difficult site of pacifying her locker room. She has a two-and-a-half-month truce, before the next internship in February, to think about the contours of her future team. With or without Henry? That is the question.

Le Monde with AFP and Reuters

Defense Europe: the dissonances of the Franco-German couple

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said Tuesday, November 17, in a speech on security policy that “the idea of ​​strategic autonomy for Europe goes too far if it feeds the illusion that Europe’s security, stability and prosperity could be guaranteed without NATO and the United States ”. In contradiction with the words of Emmanuel Macron.


Disused railway lines: rails in deep sleep

When the train has left forever: Soft green runs over the railroad tracks, nature prevails against gravel and steel. Awakening rusty rails from their slumber is time-consuming and expensive.
Image: dpa, Markus Kaufhold

Reviving railway lines shut down for climate protection: The idea inspires in many places. But reactivating rails is tough work that takes years. Or the idea fails – because the train has left forever.

Dhe resistance comes from a corner for which rail traffic is generally a green revelation. In Wuppertal, cyclists are raising the mood against the fact that the “Rheinische Bahn”, which has been shut down since the 1990s, is back into operation. That is “ecologically not sensible”, it is said rather surprisingly in the citizen’s initiative “Wuppertal Movement”. The judgment is not entirely unselfish. Because the “Nordbahntrasse” with tunnels and viaducts across densely populated parts of the city has long been freed from the rails. It was expanded to become a model cycle path, and five years ago it was even awarded the German Bicycle Prize.

Rather than a cycle path, there is always a clear announcement and rejection elsewhere. But there is also enthusiasm for old tracks. For example in the district of Calw in the northern Black Forest. The new edition of the 37-year-old train connection from Calw via the neighboring village of Weil der Stadt to Renningen in the Stuttgart S-Bahn network even has a name: it will be the “Hermann-Hesse-Bahn”, as it will start – probably from 2023 an – in the birthplace of the world-famous writer. A municipal association takes on the role of operator and is already doing stylish PR appearances on the Internet in the construction phase that has already started. The new route will be shorter than the old one. A new tunnel is under construction that will eliminate a four-kilometer detour from the former route.


New Porsche sales centers: Dortmund as a global blueprint

Salesroom of the new center

Up to 30 vehicles can be exhibited at the Dortmund location.

(Photo: Porsche)

Dortmund As a thank you for the new Porsche Center at Dortmund Airport, the municipality gives you the right street name for it: As if it were a matter of course, the dealership is on Carrera Street, which is also new. It is a clear reference to the 911, the most important and best-known model of the Stuttgart sports car manufacturer. The massive but also transparent new building cost 19 million euros – an important investment in the Dortmund suburbs.

The new distribution center at Dortmund Airport is the beginning of a realignment in this area. Step by step, Porsche intends to convert more than 900 dealerships around the world to the new “Destination Porsche” sales concept over the next ten years. After a pilot operation in Palm Springs, California was initially well received by customers, the Stuttgart-based Volkswagen subsidiary decided to spread the concept around the world.

“The focus is on people, the Porsche Center will become a space of communication and inspiration,” said Sales Director Detlev von Platen at the opening of the sales and workshop center in the Ruhr metropolis. The sports car manufacturer wants to address new customer groups with a transparent and open-minded architectural concept.

There should be no inhibitions if a potential customer wants to enter a Porsche factory today, continues von Platen. That is why the entrance area of ​​the new location is already generous, allowing a panoramic view of the entire building right through to the workshops. The Dortmund Porsche branch is owned by the medium-sized Hülpert auto trading group, which owns a number of workshops and dealerships in the eastern Ruhr area.

Eight out of ten Porsche customers in Germany are men, the average age is well over 50 – from the point of view of the people of Stuttgart that should change. In other countries, such as China, the brand was able to attract additional customer groups much earlier. “With the new Porsche Center, we want to address younger people and women,” announced von Platen.

The Porsche brand should also adapt in other areas. “Just don’t be arrogant,” emphasized the sales director. “It’s about being personable.” Meanwhile, there is still something elitist about Porsche. Although the Stuttgart-based company does not want to become a volume manufacturer based on the model of the parent company Volkswagen, the customer base should be a bit broader in the future. But: “There won’t be a small city car from Porsche,” said von Platen. Other manufacturers could do better.

Transparency is to be taken literally in the new building. According to the new Porsche concept, there are open workshops, so customers can see immediately how work is being done on their vehicles. “We want to show how our technicians care for the car,” says von Platen.

Porsche Center Dortmund

Porsche wants to address additional customer groups with its new distribution centers. The first of these centers was set up in Dortmund.

(Photo: Porsche)

That creates a closer bond between customers and Porsche. From an in-house perspective, however, there is another important aspect: the workshops stay clean. The employees of the Porsche Center have to pay more attention to cleanliness because the customers can watch them all the time.

The Porsche Center in Dortmund has so far sold around 600 new cars a year. More than 30 cars can now be exhibited in the open showrooms. This makes Dortmund one of the larger sales locations in Germany. The new “Destination Porsche” concept is also to be implemented at smaller locations. The new sales concept was designed in a modular manner and can be varied depending on the size.

Porsche wants to achieve closer communication with its own customers in other ways. This includes a newly created event area. In the future, a Porsche center can be used by other companies for meetings or conferences. During the breaks, participants can view the Porsche on display – and possibly buy them later.

Due to the corona pandemic, this business is subject to a compulsory break. Porsche hopes that this will change in the coming year when the potential danger of the virus subsides after the vaccinations start.

Meanwhile, the importance of electric cars is growing rapidly in everyday Porsche life. Fast-charging stations are being built in the parking lots at Dortmund Airport and all other sales locations. The number of electric models presented in the exhibition rooms will increase. With the Taycan, Porsche is currently offering a first fully electric model, plus a range of plug-in hybrids.

In 2022, the new Macan is expected to be the second fully electric car. For a workshop like the one in Dortmund, this means additional investments: It must be possible to repair both combustion models and new electric vehicles on the lifting platforms. Employees are also trained as high-voltage technicians.


Porsche does not expect the new e-models to completely replace conventional combustion engines in a short time. Even in the workshop business, not everything is likely to change anytime soon, things like the lucrative oil change will remain with the dealers. The fairly high inventory of used cars at Porsche ensures that. On average, the cars have a longer service life than vehicles from most other manufacturers – and accordingly have to take longer to be serviced in the workshop.

The number of newly sold e-models will continue to increase significantly not only at Porsche in the coming year. The Association of International Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (VDIK) expects 500,000 to 600,000 e-cars, fully electric models and plug-in hybrids to be sold together in 2021.

“Despite the corona pandemic, the breakthrough in electromobility has been achieved,” said VDIK President Reinhard Zirpel in a press conference on Thursday. How strong the growth is is also shown by the forecasts for current sales: In 2020, 350,000 electric cars are expected to be sold in Germany, which corresponds to an increase of around 200 percent compared to the previous year.

After the turn of the year, Porsche continues to set up new distribution centers based on the Dortmund model. One of the next major projects is the new Stuttgart Porsche Center, which is expected to open in 2022.

More: “We have to remain the world’s innovation leader,” says Porsche boss Oliver Blume.


After Hamilton’s corona infection: Russell on his commitment

Lewis Hamilton’s substitute George Russell can still hardly believe his unexpected promotion to the Formula 1 Mercedes. “It means a lot to me that Mercedes gave me this chance. So much had to happen in such a short time. That they were ready to do that makes me very proud, ”said the Briton on Thursday before the penultimate round of the season in Bahrain. The 22-year-old replaces world champion Hamilton at least on Sunday at the race in Sakhir because the superstar is out due to a corona infection.

Hamilton had tested positive on Monday and therefore had to go into a ten-day quarantine. After some negotiations, the Williams team released its regular driver Russell. The young pilot comes from the Mercedes junior program. “It’s been an intense 48 hours,” said Russell. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff called him on Tuesday morning at 2 a.m. After that, a new helmet and racing suit had to be flown in for Russell.

It’s been a crazy year for Russell

“Fairy tale is the wrong word for it. That was not how I had imagined my first experience in a Mercedes racing car, ”said Russell. It was a crazy year, he added. He wrote a message of encouragement to Hamilton, but has not heard from him since. “I am sure it will be a tough time for him. We have a good relationship and I’m sure we’ll talk to each other over the weekend, ”said Russell.

It is still unclear whether Hamilton can return in a week in Abu Dhabi in time for the season finale. For Russell, 25-year-old Briton Jack Aitken will make his Formula 1 debut at the Williams in Sakhir.


Chemnitz as the cultural capital? The city is better than its reputation

When the stone Jesus looks to the left above the entrance to the Petrikirche in Chemnitz, he still has a remnant of socialism in mind: the “Café Moscow” on the Street of Nations. If he looks to the right, he sees the opera house from the imperial era and the King Albert Museum with its expressionist collection. Behind: many prefabricated buildings and unimportant architecture from the post-reunification period.

In Chemnitz, the upheavals in German history are particularly evident in the cityscape. For many, the Saxon city is also a synonym for East German gloom, think of the right-wing extremists, ongoing emigration, the aging of the population.

The greater the astonishment that Chemnitz was elected European Capital of Culture 2025 at the end of October.


Not a word of complaint (

The last test match before the European Championship was two months ago: Goalkeeper Dinah Eckerle lost with the DHB team against the Dutch at the beginning of October.

Photo: dpa / Carmen Jaspersen

It was time for a clear statement from the top. At least that must have felt like that for Andreas Michelmann, which is why the President of the German Handball Federation (DHB) announced at the beginning of the week that his association would of course plan to take part in the men’s World Cup in Egypt next January. After some clubs and national players had expressed doubts and pleaded for a postponement of the World Cup or a waiver, the president spoke a word of power.

The media-effective rushing forward by Michelmann is remarkable because this need obviously does not exist among women. On the contrary: when the European Championship begins in Denmark this Thursday, the DHB team will defy all sorts of adversities – and so far not a word of complaint has come from the lips of the country’s best handball players. “We’re really happy, I was very happy when I was allowed to join the team,” said Dinah Eckerle. The goalkeeper only joined the squad last Friday, six days before the first European Championship game, because she had to be quarantined after the last game with her French club Metz HB.

In general, the preparation of the German team resembled a permanent reaction to unexpected outside influences. There were no test matches and the national coach wasn’t there. “We would never have imagined such a preparation without a test match in our life, but we just have to pay tribute to the circumstances and still prepare optimally,” said Axel Kromer, Sports Director at DHB. National coach Henk Groener is in domestic isolation because of a positive test for the Covid-19 pathogen, and it is still unclear whether he can be with the team until the first game against Romania this Thursday in Kolding. The team is currently being looked after by assistant trainer Alexander Koke, who was only able to join the team last Thursday. On Tuesday, however, he was on the charter plane with which the Germans first flew to Billund, from where the bus continued to Kolding, which is 50 kilometers away.

Originally, the German preliminary round matches were to be played in Trondheim, but the Norwegian association withdrew as co-organizer just under three weeks before the start of the tournament. The pandemic-related requirements of the Norwegian government could not be met, so that the EM will now be held entirely in Denmark. Kolding was added as a venue at short notice – two preliminary round groups and a subsequent main round group are played here.

“We are happy that we are starting, we have good tension in the group,” said Amelie Berger on Tuesday after arriving on Danish soil. Like her teammates, the 21-year-old first had to complete a PCR test before moving into the team hotel and thus diving into the tournament bubble. The Danish organizer has developed a hygiene concept in order to be able to hold the EM as possible without positive corona cases. For players, coaches and officials, this means that they are only allowed to leave the hotel for training units and games; external contacts are completely prohibited. These are demanding requirements for the athletes because there will be no distractions in the next two weeks. “I will read a lot,” announced Luisa Schulze. The anticipation of the international tournament outshines the prospect of being “locked up” in the hotel.

For the organizers, the sealed-off bubbles are the best way to hold the EM. Because all 16 teams are together for almost two weeks at the two locations in Kolding and Herning, the risk of infections is comparatively low. Some teams would not change location until the finals. In any case, the Danes feel well prepared. In the event of a positive test, the entire team must be isolated, followed by further close-knit testing. This is currently the case with the first German opponent: A quick test had given a Romanian player a positive result. The EM host rejected the request to postpone the game on Wednesday. The anticipation of the German handball players for the start of the European Championship could not diminish this news either.


Picture book – King, come follow me – Culture

He is the king of the “land of small miracles”, ten-year-old Sevi, who stands on the tower of his castle and looks at the star that seems to call out: “Come and follow me, King. Hurry, hurry up.” When his astrologer tells him of the prophecy that this star will lead him to a mighty king, the boy sets off alone.

Is the Christian legend of the “Holy Three Kings”, a popular Christmas theme in children’s books, being retold here? Are the bright colors on the first pages the signal for a contemplative, happy variation of the story? The illustrations explode in a colorful frenzy when the little king meets a wild, lively entourage of people and animals on his way, led by three kings on horseback. Sevi’s call, “Wait a minute! I want to see the great king too,” they don’t seem to hear.

So he follows in their footsteps and suddenly the mood changes, an old woman on the roadside complains that the entourage of the three kings has used up the water supplies, the fruit has been stolen from another man, the village is in danger of starvation. Now Sevi works wonders with his children’s toys, originally intended as a gift, to save those affected, including children. The pictures follow what is happening, they only find their way back to their colourfulness when everyone is helped. And how is the little king, who has used all his belongings, in this Christmas story? He is found by the Holy Family while lying penniless in the snow on the road. Even without presents, he makes the newborn king happy, he can suck his thumb. (from 4 years)

Jan De Leeuw: The little king follows the star. With illustrations by Mattias De Leeuw. From the Dutch by Rolf Erdorf. Gerstenberg Verlag, 2020. 40 pages, 13 euros.