Massive Strikes Hit Germany

Welcome to today’s Morning Brief.

Welcome to today’s Morning Brief.

Starting April 3, we’re launching FP World Brief, a daily newsletter that will replace Morning Brief. It will run Monday through Friday and will hit inboxes at 7 p.m. Eastern.

But today, we’re looking at a “mega strike” in Germany, judicial reform delay in Israel, and a change to U.S.-Canada immigration policy.

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Massive Strikes Rock Germany

A massive strike hit Germany Monday, with workers demanding pay raises amid high inflation.

Union bosses called the demanded increases “a matter of survival,” while management described the strikes as “completely excessive.”

Germany’s transport network was effectively frozen for the day. Staff at airports, bus terminals, ports, and railways walked out. Flights at eight major airports were impacted. The German Airports Association estimated that about 380,000 travelers would have their flights grounded as a result.

Local media dubbed it a “mega strike.” Two of the country’s largest unions, EVG and Verdi, teamed up. EVG represents 230,000 employees at Deutsche Bahn, as well as bus companies, while Verdi represents roughly 2.5 million in the public sector, including many working in transport.

Frank Werneke, the Verdi chief, in an interview with German outlet Bild, said, “The people are not only underpaid, they are hopelessly overworked.”

EVG boss Martin Burkert told Reuters on Monday evening, “We expect an offer over which we can negotiate. To this day we don’t have one.”

Germany has been especially hard hit by inflation as it weans itself off of Russian energy, looking for new energy sources while Russia wages war in Ukraine.

What We’re Following Today 

Netanyahu pushes back judicial reform. Following a day of protests and strikes—including by Israeli embassies—after he fired his own defense minister, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to postpone his judicial reform. Critics say it would gut the powers of the judiciary, and Israelis have been taking to the streets to voice their displeasure for weeks. Yoav Gallant, the now-former defense minister, had warned that pushing ahead with the reforms would weaken the country’s national security, and some reservists announced they would no longer volunteer.

Netanyahu said he would delay the remaining votes until after the Knesset’s Passover recess to “give time for a real chance for a real debate.” He was, he said, “aware of the tensions.”

However, it was also revealed Monday that the agreement to delay came with the creation of a national guard to be under the control of the national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right politician who was previously convicted of inciting racism. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak called the creation of said national guard a “lunatic step.” Labor MK Gilad Kariv urged security services not to form the “Ben-Gvir law-approved militia.” Moshe Karadi, former chief of police, said Ben-Gvir was “dismantling Israeli democracy.”

Asylum-seekers try for last-minute crossing of U.S.-Canada border. After U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a deal to close a loophole that let tens of thousands of immigrants cross the border last week, a Haitian family—possibly the last to benefit—crossed the border moments before the modifications set in. The family left their luggage on the other side of the border.

Essentially, since early 2017, many migrants entered Canada via a back road between New York and Quebec. Once on Canadian soil, they could stay and seek asylum. But a new policy says that any asylum-seeker who lacks U.S. or Canadian citizenship and is caught within 14 days of crossing will be sent back across.

Keep an Eye On

SNP picks new leader. Humza Yousaf won election to be the next leader of the Scottish National Party, the ruling party of Scotland. Yousaf said he felt like the “luckiest man in the world” and promised to gain independence from the United Kingdom. His priority, he said, was to “protect every Scot, as far as we possibly can, from the harm inflicted by the cost-of-living crisis, to recover and reform our NHS and other vital public services, to support our wellbeing economy, to improve the life chances of people right across this country.”

Myanmar leaders promise to crush resistance. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, leader of Myanmar’s military government, promised in a rare speech to fight all who oppose the military’s rule at Myanmar’s annual military day parade. The country has been in a civil war since a military coup in 2021, which has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and more than a million people displaced.

America’s Zero-Sum Economics Doesn’t Add Up by Adam Posen

It’s Time to Bring Back the Polish-Lithuanian Union by Dalibor Rohac

What America’s Civil War Can Teach Us About Israel’s by Ian S. Lustick

Greenland is staying in daylight savings time. Forever. Greenland’s residents moved their clocks forward by an hour, never to do so again. The semi-independent Danish territory has decided to stay in daylight savings time, and thus only three hours behind Denmark. In a statement, Visit Greenland said, “The shift of time zone marks an exciting new beginning, an equal connection to North America and Europe, and an opportunity to slow down in a fast-paced world.”

That’s it for today.

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