Monday, 27 November 2017

The coalitions podcast: chaos in Berlin, calm in Bonn

Germany's political future is now uncertain after 'Jamaica' coalition talks collapsed. Meanwhile, the global climate coalition is holding strong after a summit in Bonn.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Berlin: the uncapital

People often use 'Berlin' as shorthand for a powerful Germany. But in reality this is not a power center, economically or politically. And many people like it that way. 

I've been in Bonn, Germany the past two weeks, covering the UN climate talks. It's my first time in the former West German capital, and it's been a very eye-opening experience. 

One of my clients is Deutsche Welle, Germany's public international broadcaster (roughly the equivalent of the BBC World Service). I work for them in their Brussels and Berlin offices, but their headquarters are in Bonn. So these weeks were an opportunity to finally meet many of my colleagues in person for the first time. 

When I tell people outside Germany that DW's headquarters is in Bonn, and Berlin has a much smaller satellite office, they're surprised. "Why wouldn't they be based in Berlin?" they ask. In fact, DW's situation is not unusual. Very few German media companies are based in Berlin. The TV stations and national papers are often based in Hamburg or Cologne, maintaining only small 'Berlin bureaus'.