Everything that Changes in Germany in July 2024

Everything that Changes in Germany in July 2024

This July, Germany is experiencing a variety of significant changes that residents, especially foreign ones, should be aware of. From new cannabis regulations to shifts in TV connection fees and exciting events like the Euro 2024 final, here’s a comprehensive overview of what to expect.

1. Cannabis Clubs to be Allowed in Germany

Starting July 1st, Germany’s cannabis laws are expanding. The new phase allows the establishment of “cannabis clubs,” regulated associations where members can legally obtain cannabis. Each club can have up to 500 members and distribute up to 50 grams of cannabis per person per month. However, smoking within the clubs is prohibited; members must be at least 100 meters away from the entrance. This follows the April 1st change permitting adults over 18 to carry 25 grams of dried cannabis and grow up to three marijuana plants at home. Cannabis remains banned for under-18s and within 100 meters of schools, kindergartens, and playgrounds.

2. Environmentally Friendly Drink Lids

From July 3rd, new environmental regulations require that plastic bottles have permanently attached lids. This law, aimed at reducing plastic waste, applies to single-use packaging made entirely or partly of plastic with a volume of up to three liters. This change is part of broader efforts to protect the environment.

3. School Holidays and Summer Travel

School holidays kick off in several states, including Bremen, Lower Saxony, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia, starting in the second half of June. Other states follow in July, with Bavaria beginning holidays on July 29th. This will likely lead to busier holiday resorts and travel routes as families embark on their summer vacations.

4. Summer Construction Works

Summer is also a prime time for construction projects. A significant refurbishment will begin on the Riedbahn rail line connecting Frankfurt and Mannheim on July 15th, closing the line until December 14th. Expect diverted trains and replacement services. Local road construction projects are also expected, so keep an eye on local announcements.

5. UEFA Euro 2024 Final in Berlin

One of the summer’s highlights is the UEFA Euro 2024 final on July 14th at Berlin’s Olympiastadion. The month-long tournament, featuring 24 teams and 51 games across 10 German cities, promises an exciting conclusion. The final match is eagerly anticipated and is expected to be a spectacular event.

6. Mandatory Black Boxes and Assistance Systems in New Cars

From July 7th, all newly registered cars or commercial vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes must be equipped with an Event Data Recorder (EDR), similar to a black box, to record data for accident investigations. Additionally, various driver assistance systems will become mandatory to enhance road safety.

7. Pay Increase for Bundestag Members

Members of the Bundestag will receive a 6 percent pay increase starting in July. Their parliamentary allowance will rise by €635.50 to a total of €11,227.20 per month. This adjustment reflects the nominal wage development and includes a tax-free expense allowance currently amounting to €5,051.54 per month for constituency office and second home expenses.

8. Changes to Cable TV Connection Fees

From July 1st, tenants will have more control over their TV connection choices. Previously, costs for cable TV connections were often included in rent via collective contracts. Now, tenants can choose how they want to watch TV—via the Internet, satellite, or cable—without automatic bundled contracts. Those affected should contact their landlord or consumer rights organizations for more information.

9. Expanded Truck Toll Fees

Truck toll regulations are expanding on July 1st to include vehicles weighing 3.5 tonnes and above, down from the previous threshold of 7.5 tonnes. The toll applies to both domestic and foreign vehicles, with exemptions for rescue, fire services, civil protection, and agricultural vehicles.

10. Pension Increase

Approximately 21 million German pensioners will receive a financial boost in July. Pensions will increase by 4.57 percent based on new data from the Federal Statistical Office and Deutsche Rentenversicherung. Retirees receiving a pension of €1,000 will get an additional €45.70 per month. Those with reduced earning capacity pensions will see a 7.5 percent increase, depending on the pension’s start date.

11. Closure of Galeries Lafayette in Berlin

Finally, the luxury French department store Galeries Lafayette will close its Berlin location on Friedrichstraße on July 31st. The closure, affecting around 190 employees, is due to changing consumer habits and significant shifts in Berlin’s retail market.

These changes reflect a dynamic period for Germany, with new regulations, significant events, and societal shifts all coming into play this July.

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