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Germany Country Report

Country Risk Level

Low

Overview

Executive Summary

Leadership renewal in the ruling coalition parties, combined with attempts to sharpen their policy profiles, has had a destabilising effect on Chancellor Angela Merkel's government. However, although protests against the government’s handling of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus outbreak are likely to increase in smaller parts of the population, the joint focus on crisis management to mitigate the impact of the pandemic has led to strong approval ratings for the government overall.The 2021 general election will almost certainly end the "grand coalition" alliance between the CDU/CSU and SPD. With a single-party majority highly unlikely, electoral support fragmented, and the CDU's traditional coalition partner, the FDP, likely to underperform, IHS Markit assesses that it is currently most likely that the CDU will form a coalition government with the Greens.The strict lockdown measures in place between mid-March and late April to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus have triggered the most severe recession in post-war history in 2020 (mid-August forecast: -6.0%), but the subsequent loosening of restrictions should allow about two-thirds of the first-half GDP decline to be recouped during the second half of the year. Nevertheless, a full recovery will require the widespread availability of an effective vaccine (expected around mid-2021), and an increasingly likely “hard Brexit” and structural adjustment in Germany's key automotive industry will hamper the rebound.The extent of any lasting damage from company insolvencies will be limited by massive fiscal support for employees and firms (facilitated by budget surpluses during 2014–19), a structurally strong construction sector (demographics, ultra-low interest rates), and relatively resilient underlying consumer demand given healthy income growth in recent years.Germany faces a simultaneously heightened risk of jihadist and far-right terrorist attacks. Assaults with rudimentary weapons such as knives, vehicle-impact attacks, or shootings remain the most likely modes of attack and the risk is geographically dispersed.

Operational Outlook

Germany is a favourable business and investment destination but there is currently a heightened risk of disruptions caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus outbreak and related emergency measures. Labour unions have substantial influence on policy-making, while industrial action mostly affects the aviation, metalworking, railway, and cargo sectors. Progress is likely to be made by unions regarding the hard-hit construction industry. Corruption risks are low, with strong anti-corruption enforcement mechanisms in place. A new online registry to secure fair competition will become operational by end-2020. Companies listed there for their involvement in corruption will be excluded from public tenders.

Terrorism

Germany faces a heightened risk of jihadist terrorist attacks launched by lone actors or small cells directly linked to non-state militant groups such as the Islamic State or inspired by their ideology. Soft targets, such as transport hubs, bars and restaurants, music and sport venues, shopping centres, or public spaces near tourist attractions, are likely to be most at risk. In addition, incidents such as the February 2020 Hanau shooting attack, the murder of regional politician Walter Lübcke, and the October 2019 synagogue shooting in Halle demonstrate an increased risk stemming from either organised or individual far-right terrorism targeting individuals perceived to be migrants, Jewish communities, or politicians.

Crime

Germany faces threats from various forms of organised crime, including money laundering, illegal weapons transfers, data theft, and human trafficking. Suspected cases of money laundering in Germany reached a record high in 2019 according to an annual report published in August 2020 by the Financial Intelligence Unit Germany. Latest statistics published by the Interior Ministry in 2020 point to a decrease in burglaries and violent crime overall, while cyber crime and online child pornography cases have increased in number. The heightened risk of jihadist and far-right terrorist attacks over recent years has led to contested calls for a more centralised police response in matters of constitutional defence.

War Risks

Inter-state war risks are likely to remain very low because of Germany's friendly diplomatic and economic relations with its neighbours and many other states around the world. The country is closely integrated into the EU, NATO, and other international organisations, and its support for international security missions and military collaboration with France is set to intensify. Moreover, Germany's defence budget is being raised under Defence Secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, including further investment in cyber security to avert digital attacks on online networks and weapons systems. US President Donald Trump’s decision in June 2020 to reduce the number of US troops based in Germany will not alter the country’s low war risk.

Social Stability

The probability of larger demonstrations has increased again since June 2020 following initial restrictions in response to the COVID-19 virus. This includes protests against COVID-19 virus-related restrictions and anti-racism rallies. There is also a heightened likelihood of wider anti-government protests, anti-immigration rallies and counter-demonstrations, as well as environmental activism. Right-wing movements continue to expand their online communication networks, which facilitate the rapid organisation of authorised and spontaneous illegal rallies at short notice, making it more challenging for security forces to estimate the number of participants and prevent violent escalations. Far-left protests are particularly likely in urban areas and usually turn violent on May Day.

Health Risk

Low

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Natural Risks

Heavy snowfall during winter can significantly disrupt traffic, especially outside urban areas. Air and rail travel are most affected by winter weather conditions. Flooding during autumn and winter is possible. In January 2017, the northeast of the country was touched by Storm Axel (the most severe storm since 2006), which was responsible for costly material damage.

Transportation

Over 3475 road deaths have been reported throughout 2015 in Germany (4.3 road deaths per 100,000 inhabitants). Road maintenance can seem less extensive in some other western European countries. The road network is, however, in a satisfactory state. Driving can be dangerous during winter, especially in the east.

Vehicle exclusion zones exist in some city centers. Pedestrians and drivers are advised to be careful of the many cyclists in Germany. Moreover, pedestrians who fail to comply with prohibitions on crossing the street when streetlights are red risk the assessment of a fine, and are liable in the event of an accident.

The rail network is excellent; frequent and rapid service links principal German and European cities.

Due to the ongoing migrant crisis and consequent border checkpoints implemented between Denmark, Sweden, Austria, and Germany, public transportation between these four countries can be disrupted. Allow ample time for your journey when traveling by road, train, or ferry.

Practical Information

Climate

Germany has a continental climate: very hot and dry in the summer and cold and rainy in the winter. In the north of the country, along the Baltic coast, the climate is more temperate (humid and cooler in the summer).

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +49
Police: 110 or 112
Fire Dept., Ambulance: 112

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Risk Level
Critical High Medium Low Minimal