Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Migrant Update Story

If you follow German news, there's an interesting twist to the sea rescue business.  A couple of countries within the EU came yesterday to an agreement.

Fourteen EU countries said that they would accept some distribution of rescued migrants from the Med.  The countries?  Well....in public, it was listed as Finland, Croatia, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, France, Germany, and 'others'.  Why 'others'?  That wasn't clearly laid out.  Some of the details might involve a limit, and these are still details to be worked out.

So what will happen here is that a distribution will occur out of Italian refugee camps.  A bus will pull up at x-camp, and forty-odd folks will board to x-country.  The refugee might be asking which country.....because they really don't want to go over this country or that country.....but in this case, there's no choice.

Will they accept this 'busing'?  I have some doubts that it'll be fully accepted.  You may wake up in four months to realize that the 200-odd migrants brought to Portugal have mostly up and left (for Germany).  Will they be bused back?  Unknown.

This is rarely brought up in the news media, but if you read through migrant chatter....they typically want to resettle in France, Germany, or the UK.

Why only fourteen out of the twenty-eight EU members?  No one speaks to this part of the discussion.  My guess would center on most wanting a evaluation process and the German developed program here is to accept them....period.

The odds that rescues and more incoming folks will occur?  Oh.....it's up around 100-percent.

But let's be honest....this gets these people out of the temp Italian camp, and into some new more positive situation....even if they don't want to be in Finland because of the harsh winters.

Monday, July 22, 2019

The 112-Story

If you live in Germany and dial '112'.....that gets you the ambulance folks.  In simple terms....an emergency doctor and crew to react to your dire situation.  If you ask a German to define the dire situation....then things get a bit wordy and complicated.

Some types of emergencies are obvious....like you fell down the stairs and have a broken leg.  Or you ran off the road with your bike and you have a concussion.  But there are folks who have some type of problem which might not really be an emergency, but it ends up with the doctor and crew there, and a trip to the emergency room.

There's a new bill drifting around the Bundestag....presented by the Health Minister (CDU, Jens Spahn).  Under his wording, the emergency team or the folks on the telephone would be required to assess the situation, and then state for a 'fact'....that you are in dire shape, or you can wait until tomorrow and just visit your regular doctor (out-patient).

This is designed to lessen the number of folks showing up in emergency rooms. Numbers?  None presented.  The general chatter is that about a quarter of all folks in the 112-'bucket'....simply aren't in a dire situation.

Odds that it'll pass?  Unknown.  None of the other parties are talking about this idea much.  Do the emergency folks want this power of assessing?  That's unclear as well.

Bike Story

Statistics came out for the nation of Germany yesterday, and there was a bit of a shocker on the list....445 Germans were killed in 2018 via bicycle accidents.

It's roughly a 17-percent increase over 2017.

A trend?  I think ever since the battery bikes came out....it seems that biking has been invigorated and increased.  More bicyclists....more opportunities for accidents.

A lot of this simply involves urbanized traffic, and bicyclists trying to maneuver through heavy traffic involving cars and delivery vehicles.

Not To Be Confused

Often you assemble German data or statistics on immigration or asylum, you have to take in the 'big picture'.

Just because the BaMF folks (in charge of immigration for Germany) say that 500,000 arrived....it doesn't mean 500,000 asylum-seekers.  It means that various groups either asked for immigration status, work status, or asylum. 

A good example....you could have 25,000 Poles arrive and announce themselves.  Because Poland is part of the EU, other than registering at the local city hall....they have the right to work there in Germany.  Those 25,000 Poles would be counted as part of the 500,000 number.  The same would be true for 10,000-odd Greeks coming for a job, or 12,000 Italians.

Another example....Americans could be counted in on the 500,000 number but they chiefly come in on jobs offered and gain work papers.  The vast majority are not asking for immigration status or asylum status.  Their primary intent would be to work for some German company for three to five years, then return to the US.

Chinese requesting immigration status?  They could be counted as part of the 500,000.  Most are bringing in some cash, and want a business venture (a shop, a restaurant, a hotel, etc.  They are not asylum-seekers.

So who typically comes to claim asylum (not asking for a work-visa or plain immigration)?  It's typically people who don't have a lot of opportunity, chances, or leaving a war-zone.  For some, there's the belief that asylum is a guaranteed thing.  Statistics for the German approvals don't really agree with the term 'guaranteed thing'.  If you have the war zone status, there's a higher approval rate, and no one disagrees about that.  For people from some country in serious economic negativity?   The approval rate isn't that high.  You improve your odds by having a skill-craft or university degree.  If the best you've done over the past five years is operate a fruit-cart....well, it just doesn't work on approval of a visa.

A lot of data which just doesn't easily tell a story?  Yes, and for Germans....this is difficult to assemble and rationalize some trend, or some failure.  You could probably gather data from the past decade from BamF and show that virtually every single South Korean (except for the five in Frankfurt accused of torture and 2nd-degree murder) have been honest and productive immigrants.  You can probably assemble all the data for the Venezuelans who've come in the past five years....to show not a single arrest has occurred within that group.  You can probably find data to suggest all Syrians with a university degree have assimilated into German society, and been productive assets for the nation. 

How all this figures into the new Med-rescue crisis?  Well, that's the curious thing.  When you see this played out, most of the pro-rescue crowd wants pre-approved scenarios for the rescued, meaning they won't fill out the paperwork or be given a process of approval.  That suggests that the applicant probably doesn't have the war-zone situation being played out, and that their education/skill craft doesn't really amount to much.  In other words....if you followed the traditional process....most of the rescued would fail the applicant process.

So if all of this chatter is a bit confusing....well, asylum, integration and immigration just isn't a practical 'science' or anchored-down process.   As much as you'd think that the Germans would go and define one single process and path....it goes into revisions or evolution almost every single year.

First Priority of the New Defense Minister?

It's interesting how this story is quickly being projected with the new German Defense Minister (AKK).  She said that she's going to push for higher funding (near the 2-percent of GDP that NATO mandates). 

Will she get it?

No.  The SPD, hold the Finance Minister position, and have no intention of raising the funding level. 

So it's wasted chatter?  For the most part. 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Airline Travel Story

It's a comical data collection, but the German Federal Aviation Association went out and tasked the government (the German federal folks) to provide data on air travel, and how political parties 'rate'.

What the statistics show is that Green Party leads the government in terms of official travel via the airlines.  Forty-six percent of their folks had done so.  They were followed by the FDP (45-percent) and CDU (40-percent).

The party with the least amount of airline travel?  AfD, with 26-percent. 

What kind of story does it tell?  Well, it wasn't a pleasant thing for the Greens to admit this number. 

My humble guess is that the Greens often attend conferences way beyond the German borders, that have to deal with environmental topics, and they would rather fly than take trains or drive there.

A slam against them?  No, but it's not exactly a positive thing to admit.  My guess is that they are going to force a lot of people to skip conferences in the future, or travel by van or train when possible. 


Assault Story

It's a page three type statistic but it really says something about cops, German expectations, and public safety.

Over the past four years, physical and violent confrontations (assaults) on German cops have risen 25-percent.  Every single day, they average across the sixteen states....32 attacks per day. 

The landscape?  Cops are now routinely deployed to hotspots....train-stations....mid-town shopping districts...fests...and neighborhoods with trends toward trouble.  They have a general routine.  Two cops working together, walking up to the questionable guy to ask for an ID and what the problem is.  They have training to defuse confrontations, but if you look at how things are progressing, between alcohol and drugs influencing their behavior.....the situation spirals into potential problems.

Why the trend?  Part of this is the responsibility of the mayor and city council, who have heat put upon them and they escalate this to the police chief 'to maintain order'.  So the chief tells the cops where to deploy, how to aggressively handle things, and all of this is supposed to be a positive situation for the general public. 

Influence of migrants and immigrants?  If anything, they've gotten introduced to nifty drugs and alcohol, which they didn't have back in the old country.  I won't go and suggest that they represent the bulk of this pattern because NO statistics exist to prove that point.  You could go and suggest some non-Germans in the mix, but that's going to include Turks, Serbs, Russians, etc. 

The potential that this attack-mentality will cause long term problems for the cops?  Its a possibility.  This isn't the normal world that German cops approaching 20 years of service had to face in the early part of their career.  You now have to view situations where some drunk, or some hyped-up and argumentative guy believes he can get out of a situation by threatening the cop. 

The public view?  My guess is that most Germans are asking where this aggression came from, and why people aren't cooperative with the cops. 

How the German C02 Tax Will Reshape Driving Habits

If this C02 tax goes into place (still yet to be certain), the 2020 tax added would be 10 Euro cents per liter.  Figure 12-cents (US currency). 

A typical car holds 45 liters of fuel, so this would add up to 4.50 Euro for each filled tank (roughly 5 US dollars) of added tax.  So lets use a Audi A5, and figure mileage.

The typical A5 will get you around 5.7 to 8 liters per hundred kilometers.  The slower and lesser aggressive driving....gets you closer to the 5.7 number.  What kind of speed are we talking about?  Mostly 80 to 100 kph or 50 to 62 mph.  The high speed (say over 130 kph or 80 mph) would get you closer to 8 liters for a hundred kilometers.

So if you did a transition or worried to the max about the cost factor, then you'd drive the 80 to 100 kph....to reach 5.7 liters.  In relationship?  You'd have around a minimum of six extra liters in your tank and thus save 60 cents plus the cost of normal gas. 

A big deal at 10 cents per liter?  No.

But here's the thing....half-way through this decade (2025), it's going to 30 cents.  And by 2030, it'll be 50 cents per liter on the C02 tax. 

My guess is that a fair number of Germans will try to figure some way to save, adapting to the cost factor, and lessening their speed whenever possible.  The idea that you might see some medium-sized cars sold with a tiny 1.2 engine?  There might be a series or two introduced before we get to the only e-car era (after 2030). 

Just something to think about.