In Brief: Germany takes on new debt to finance 130 billion euro stimulus package

Outlined in a 57-point paper, the stimulus package includes reducing the value-added tax (VAT) from 19% to 16% starting next month through the end of the year and subsidies for electric vehicles.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

By Sylvia Cunningham, Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson and Monika Müller-Kroll

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 130 billion euro stimulus package will be partially financed by taking on new debt.

Merkel told reporters on Wednesday night it’s clear that this crisis needs a bold response, both to secure jobs and to get the economy running again.

The package, outlined in a 57-point paper, includes reducing the value-added tax (VAT) from 19% to 16% starting next month through the end of the year and providing families with a one-time payment of 300 euros per child.


Germany’s car market slumped again last month, although not as badly as Britain’s.

The Federal Motor Transport Authority reported new car registrations in Germany dropped by 49.5% in May and by 35% since the beginning of the year when compared to the first five months of 2019.

The agency reports that all German automakers were in the red, with BMW reporting a drop of 62.1% in sales.

But the British market was hit even worse. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reported an 89% decline in new car registrations last month compared to May of the previous year. That was the lowest number since May 1952.


Police say they are investigating a German man in connection with the disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann in Portugal 13 years ago. 

Christian Hoppe from Germany’s Federal Criminal Police, told public broadcaster ZDF that they assume Madeleine is dead.

He said the investigation, which is being conducted in close cooperation with police in London and Portugal, led to a 43-year-old German man, who has a record of sexually abusing children and is currently serving a prison sentence for another crime.

In 2007, the suspect was living near a Portuguese holiday resort, where the then 3-year-old disappeared.

Police released pictures of two cars and a house in Portugal that are believed to be linked to the crime in hopes witnesses will step forward.

The case has drawn international attention and continued making headlines in British press for years.

Madeleine’s parents were considered suspects by Portuguese police in the early stages of the investigation but were formally cleared in 2008 on lack of evidence.

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.  

For up-to-date information on what you should be doing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, check our fact sheet. 

Whether it’s our coverage of the coronavirus, rent freezes or more light-hearted subjects like Berlin’s pandas, you can count us for factual and informative content. We are the go-to source for the English-as-a-common-language community in Berlin and beyond. The pandemic will challenge us to find new ways of doing reporting, but we will continue to bring you the programming you love and news you can trust. We are a listener-funded public radio station, driven by donors like you. So please consider donating today to keep us on air, online and in your community.