Following protests by Hindu groups who say they've used the swastika as a religious symbol for millennia, Germany announced Monday that it has dropped plans to outlaw the sign throughout the European Union.
In Germany, even carrying this sign has led to a conviction in court
Germany, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, still wants to make Holocaust denial illegal throughout the EU to stem racism and xenophobia.
"Public incitement of violence and hatred or the denial or trivialization of genocide with racist or xenophobic motives" should be criminalized EU-wide, German officials said in Brussels on Monday. "But the plan does not include a ban on certain symbols such as swastikas."
The German EU presidency hopes that EU members will come to an agreement on the plan during the meeting in Luxembourg on April 19 and 20.
A similar attempt to make Holocaust denial illegal by Luxembourg in 2005 was blocked by Britain, Denmark and notably Italy, where Silvio Berlusconi's center-right coalition was still in power. The new Italian government under Romano Prodi introduced a national bill over the weekend that would impose jail time for inciting racial hatred.
In Europe, only Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Romania and Spain have laws that specifically target revisionism.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused the Ukrainian military of using cluster bombs in the Donbass region. Kyiv denies the allegations and international observers question the reports.
On his first visit to the United States, Sigmar Gabriel has rejected a suggestion that Germany shoulder the weight of a European growth spurt. Soon, the vice chancellor will also have talks on an EU-US trade agreement.
Meeting in Berlin, Chancellor Merkel and John Kerry lauded the US-German alliance. But, 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, they also acknowledged the threat to peace posed by the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
What makes Germans tick? That's what Anna Magdalena Bössen wants to find out. She is biking through Germany to get to know the country better. Along the way, she recites German poetry in exchange for a place to stay.