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German report German report
by Euro Reporter
2008-01-26 10:00:13
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Climate-protection package

The EU Commission has unveiled a new climate-protection package. It contains tougher rules for emissions-trading, target goals for greenhouse-gas reduction, and directives for the expansion of renewable energies. The Commission will next officially present the package to the EU Parliament. The package requires the vote of Parliamentarians and the Council of Ministers before it can come into effect.

The catalogue of measures would require Germany to lower its emissions of carbon dioxide by fourteen percent (from 2005 levels) by 2020. That includes emissions from outside of industry - for example, households and vehicles. Further, Germany would have to increase its proportion of renewable energies to eighteen percent of total consumption, by 2020. Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel welcomed the plan, saying that the German government feels bound to those goals.

However, the problem coming to this major environmental issue has never been Germany or any of the other European countries that were too keen to sign the Kyoto Protocol, for example; the problem always been with Europe’s biggest ally and trade partner, USA!

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1.7% growth

The federal government is projecting economic growth of 1.7 percent this year. Economic Minister Michael Glos said today in Berlin that he remains confident about future development despite increased uncertainty on the global scene. The contract portfolios of German companies remain well-filled, and the domestic economy is on more stable footing that even a few years ago, he said.

As a result, according to Glos, the ability of the German economy to withstand external shocks is markedly better. Last year, the gross domestic product in Germany increased by 2.5 percent. Until a few weeks ago, the federal government was forecasting growth of 2.0 percent.

The German miracle again and this time for the 21st century.

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Cuts to commuter deduction unconstitutional

Germany's highest financial court, the Federal Court of Auditors, has ruled that the government's move to eliminate the first twenty kilometres of people's commute to and from work from the allowed commuters' tax-deduction ("Pendlerpauschale") is unconstitutional. The judges in Munich found that travel to and from work is purely a work-related expense, and that fact must be taken into account in tax calculations.

The Court of Auditors then referred the suit of the two people whose action led to today's ruling on to the Federal Constitutional Court. Taxpayers' associations welcomed the ruling, and called on all commuters to submit the full costs for their daily commute on their tax declarations.

Amazing! It should work for all the European countries, since public transportation should be in the service of the public in every sense… even in tax!

    
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