Is the CDU Thuringia doing it right?

Starting at noon today, the "Housing Summit" will take place in the Chancellery, a meeting between Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Federal Building Minister Clara Geywitz with representatives of the housing industry. A new boost for construction is urgently needed, because although hundreds of thousands of new apartments are needed, the number of building permits is falling drastically and many projects fail due to high interest rates and rising construction costs. In order to defuse the situation – and presumably the mood at the summit – Scholz and Geywitz are bringing along a package of 14 measures on which the traffic light has already agreed. Think now: 14 measures, not bad! However, 187 individual points were decided at last year's summit in order to boost the housing industry. These measures either don't seem to be working yet, or maybe they were the wrong ones?

My colleague Henning Jauernig evaluated the 14-point paper of the traffic light for you yesterday evening in commendable Sunday work. The most important point: The coalition is now once again suspending the stricter energy standards (EH-2025) for new buildings, which were actually planned from 40. To this end, the traffic light wants to support families more in the purchase of residential property, for example by expanding existing programs, for example with higher income limits for low-interest construction loans. Additional incentives are also planned for the new favorite German hate topic of heating renovation.

On the occasion of the summit, Henning Jauernig conducted an interview with Aygül Özkan, former CDU Minister of Construction in Lower Saxony, now Deputy Managing Director of the Central Real Estate Committee (ZIA). As one would expect from a person in his or her function, Özkan admonishes and appeals, and sets the symbolic clock on the housing market to "five past twelve". But it warns not only the Chancellor, but also the federal states: They should definitely temporarily suspend or reduce the real estate transfer tax. "That would be smarter than doing nothing at all," says Özkan. "Otherwise, the countries are threatened with massive losses of revenue, because hardly anyone builds and buys an apartment anymore."

It reminds you that in a small state, namely Thuringia, such a step has just been decided by the state parliament. However, not by Bodo Ramelow's government factions, but by the opposition CDU, and unpleasantly with the votes of the AfD. The world is very complicated.

  • Real estate expert on the meeting in the Chancellery: "The Chancellor must make housing construction a top priority"

Was that a success in Nordhausen?

Speaking of the AfD – in Nordhausen, Thuringia, a day without an election victory for the mayoral candidate from the party in question dawns today, so this Monday is not too bad. However, the fact that a run-off election was necessary to literally keep the far-right candidate out of office by joining forces makes the jubilation over this result seem a bit stale. Of course, every electoral success of a Democrat in a difficult situation counts. But this election was only a small skirmish in an infinitely larger confrontation that is far from won.

Especially since the debate about flight, migration and the right of asylum will continue to simmer today. A signal of the seriousness of the situation are the cross-party appeals for "cross-party solutions" (quote FDP General Secretary). What these solutions would look like remains vague, but rarely has the call for a great consensus been so loud. The CDU general secretary wants to bring everyone to the table, the Green vice-chancellor is ready for "morally difficult decisions", even Interior Minister Nancy Faeser is now planning the border controls, which she previously rejected.

In general, Faeser. With the asylum agreement at EU level, she seemed for a moment to have achieved more than her predecessor Horst Seehofer. But as soon as it is adopted, the EU agreement is once again on the verge of failure. For any incumbent, this issue must seem like kryptonite, but this is even more true for a minister who is trying to become Prime Minister of Hesse on the side. When Nancy Faeser took over this candidacy, her opponents warned that she could neglect her office in Berlin in order to parade through the Äppelwoi stands. Now it seems the other way around, as my SPIEGEL colleagues recently stated in a report on Faeser: "The election campaign is hardly about state politics, but constantly about Faeser's administration as a minister, about her strange role in the dismissal of a head of authority, about the increasing number of asylum applications."

Tonight, Faeser will take part in a "triel" of the three top candidates for the state election in Hesse, i.e. discuss with incumbent Boris Rhein (CDU) and the Green Tarek Al-Wazir. If the polls are to be believed, the SPD could even end up in third place behind the Greens. There is already wild speculation in Berlin: Will Olaf Scholz keep Faeser in office if she fails miserably in Hesse? My guess would be: yes. One remembers former Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, whom the chancellor still wanted to keep when she herself asked to be replaced. Scholz is reluctant to be pushed, when it comes to personnel matters anyway. And to all those in the Union who are already loudly calling for Faeser's replacement: You already know that Saskia Esken is being traded as a possible successor?

  • Voting rights for non-EU foreigners: Hesse's SPD corrects embarrassing mistake in election manifesto

Are conferences with Greens risky?

Christine Lambrecht's successor, Boris Pistorius, who somehow seems as if he has always led the Ministry of Defence, is in fact still making inaugural visits. Today we are going to the Baltic States for several days, for talks with NATO partners. First to Riga, Latvia, then to Tallinn, Estonia, for the annual Baltic Security Conference.

Meanwhile, at home in Germany, the committees of various parties are meeting, and afterwards their leaders will answer questions in press conferences as usual. It is a good opportunity for FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai to explain in more detail what he meant by his recent remarks about the Greens. He had described the coalition partner as a "security risk for the country" due to his "unrealistic positions". It suddenly reminds us that the Green Minister of the Environment, Steffi Lemke, is going to the World Chemicals Conference in Bonn today without any FDP watchdogs! And gives a speech...

But then we remember that the FDP general secretary had expressly limited his statement to migration policy! Facilitation. In other areas, the Liberals seem to consider the potential danger of the Greens to be manageable. FDP Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing dares to take part in the conference "Aviation: innovative and climate-neutral" today, although his Green cabinet colleague Robert Habeck will also appear there. But experience has shown that Wissing deals confidently with positions that are far removed from reality anyway.

  • Situation on Lampedusa: FDP rejects admission of further refugees from Italy

What, please, is gastrosophy?

Our science editor Hilmar Schmundt has dealt with the topic of nutrition and will take you on a journey through his personal culinary evolution today. The topic has occupied the colleague since his childhood between self-milked cow's milk and self-collected mushrooms, later it accompanied him through his time as a student, which was characterized by Bundeswehr power bars and Miracoli noodles.

For his report – the word is actually too banal for this wonderfully entertaining text – Hilmar also spoke with the "gastrosopher" Harald Lemke, a philosopher who has devoted his world of thought entirely to food. Fortunately, he is still willing to comment on the topic via disdainful video conference. "Food is ethically profoundly relevant, with every bite I exert influence on the state of the future world society and the earth," says the gastrosopher. This sets the bar high, but anything else would also disappoint you from a man with this job title who grows his own mangoes, avocados, plums, peaches, almonds and wine.

It is also Lemke who explains to Hilmar why Hilmar's enthusiasm for the digital measurement of his body and metabolism could paradoxically broaden his view of the global food web. Certainly, this text will also sharpen the senses of its readership.

  • Proper nutrition: I've completely measured myself – now I'm listening to my gut

Read the latest SPIEGEL editorial here

Germany is looking for the super beat: The plans for the new ICE line from Hanover to Hamburg were buried. A symbol of the fatal despondency of the Republic.

Click here for the current daily quiz

The starting question today: How can the Federal President be removed from office in Germany?

Winner of the day...

... is Katarina Barley, who is being presented today as the SPD's top candidate for the European elections – or at least the clever people we have put on the SPD in our editorial team are 100 percent assuming that it will be Barley. The SPD has invited to its press conference without naming a name. But for whom else should the chairmen Saskia Esken and Lars Klingbeil as well as Secretary General Kevin Kühnert appear there, plus Chancellor Scholz and parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich?

Already in 2019, Barley was the EU lead candidate of the Social Democrats, but at that time you had to ask her more than once. As the daughter of a British journalist and a German doctor and the wife of a Dutchman, the lawyer had an ideal European CV, but had to give up the office of Federal Minister of Justice to join the EU Parliament. But since then, Barley has found her role in Brussels and Strasbourg. As Vice-President of the European Parliament, she is particularly committed to opposing the dismantling of the rule of law in Poland and Hungary.

The latest news from the night

  • Americans caught after 32 years on the run: A jury tried to find him guilty of attempted murder in 1991. Before his guilty verdict could be read, the Louisiana man escaped from the courtroom. Now he has been tracked down in Mexico.

  • Natalie Geisenberger ends her career: No German athlete has won more often at the Winter Olympics than she has. Other world-class athletes bow to the luger.

  • Sophia Loren undergoes surgery after falling: The acting legend fell at her home in Geneva and suffered fractures to her hip. According to her management, she underwent surgery – and will now go through a "short recovery process".

The SPIEGEL+ recommendations for today

  • »We had never thought of leaving our homeland«: They had suffered under the blockade for months, and last week they survived Azerbaijan's attack in shelters. Now the first refugees are reaching Armenia. The country they feel betrayed by.

  • The enemy in their chat: 14-year-old Ayleen encountered her alleged killer on the Internet. She sent him nude photos, suddenly he appeared in her street. Experts see a growing danger for teenagers. Today, the pleadings begin in the trial.

  • "It's just shooting here": When Siegfried Müller became a mercenary in Africa in 1964, it could have been the last stop of his botched military career. But then reporters visited him – and turned the errant German drunkard into a bizarre legend.

  • Germany no longer has enough math teachers: School politicians are struggling with the serious shortage of math teachers in this country. How can the gap be closed? Researchers recommend two fundamental changes for education and work.

I wish you a good start to the day.

Melanie Amann, Deputy Editor-in-Chief