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World

Germany in Brief

Japanese Prime Minister in Berlin, German police prepare for May 1st demonstrations, concentration camp Dachau renovated almost six decades after Word War II and more.

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German Chancellor Schröder, right, shares a laugh with Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi in Berlin on Wednesday.

CDU speaks out on EU convention on the future of Europe

Germany’s opposition Christian Democrats (CDU) have voiced resistance to the creation of a Europe-wide tax and the EU coordination of economic policy as proposed by the Convention on the Future of Europe. During talks in Paris with the President of the Convention Valery Giscard d’Estaing, CDU leader Angela Merkel stressed the importance of clearly defining areas of common and independent juristiction in the future convention. Merkel and leader of sister Bavarian party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) Edmund Stoiber also stated the importance of maintaining national autonomy on the issue of immigration. Stoiber said it was up to each EU state to decide on their own immigration policy. The EU Convention on the Future of Europe is scheduled to submit a draft constitution on June 20th in the Greek city of Thessaloniki.

Japanese Prime Minister in Berlin

The new Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is in Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. During his visit, which comes as part of a whistle stop tour of Europe, he and Chancellor Schröder will discuss restructuring plans for Iraq, the situation in the Middle East, the crisis in North Korea, and German-Japanese relations. Koizumi started his one-week tour of Europe on Saturday in London, where he held talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The Japanese premier is planning a trip to the U.S. in May where he plans to act as mediator between Washington and those European states who, unlike Japan, were opposed to military action against Iraq.

Berlin prepares for a night of rioting

Police in the German capital are preparing to deal with the inevitable riots which have become synonymous with the city’s May 1st Labor Day demonstrations. But with a police presence of 7,500, city authorities have vowed that this year will be unlike those in the past. Speaking in Berlin on Wednesday, Police President Dieter Glietsch said they had begun their preparations immediately after last year’s riots in which 101 police officers were injured and 158 people were arrested. Glietsch said they were planning a two-pronged approach this year in which the police will concentrate on de-escalating any unrest as well as improving their capability to react faster in cases of rioting. They will likely have the chance to put the strategy to the test on the eve of May 1st when rioting traditionally begins in a number of volatile pockets of the city.

Dachau memorial site renovated

The Dachau concentration camp near the southern German city of Munich has been renovated 58 years after it was liberated by American troops. In a € 7.5 million ($ 8.34 million) renovation plan aimed at creating greater accessibility to the lives and destinies of former Dachau prisoners, the memorial site buildings have been fully renovated and the permanent exhibition site totally redesigned. The new revamped exhibition will be officially opened on May 2nd by Bavarian State Premier Edmund Stoiber. It is not known exactly how many people were killed in Dachau, but it is believed the figure is far higher than the documented 32,000 deaths. The first prisoners arrived in the camp in March 1933 just weeks after Hitler came to power.

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