Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Berlin's Budget & Structural Change

Berlin’s Budget
In 2007 the federal state of Berlin had a budget surplus for the first time in its history. The surplus will be used to reduce Berlin’s existing debt (roughly €60 billion). Budget forecasts anticipate surpluses over the next few years as well, and the state’s existing debt is to be reduced by €1.8 billion by 2011.Berlin’s financial situation is heavily influenced by high debt and correspondingly high interest payments. For years now, the Senate has been working to meet this challenge with a consistent budget consolidation course. As a result, in 2006, primary income (i.e., not including loans or the sale of assets) was able to cover primary spending (i.e., not including interest) for the first time since German reunification.

Spending, on the other hand, will amount to €20.682 billion in 2008, which means a budget surplus of €514 million. As in 2007, Berlin will use the surplus to continue reducing its existing debt.

Revenues of €20.718 billion are anticipated for 2009.

Spending is projected at €20.628 billion, giving Berlin a budget surplus of €107 million in 2009.

Structural Change
Berlin has not yet completed the structural shift that will make a forward-looking center of technology and service providers out of a traditional industrial city. Favorable conditions, however, including modern communications networks (such as a fiber-optic cable network measuring more than 170,000 km) and close proximity to many different educational institutions, are speeding up the pace. Europe’s most modern research and technology park, for instance, is emerging at Adlershof.At the same time, Berlin is introducing administrative structural reform: in addition to increasing intercultural openness, the goal is to create an administration that is “resident-friendly,” transparent, and economical and views itself as a modern service provider. For example, borough reform at the beginning of 2001 reduced the number of boroughs from 23 to 12. Reviews are also being conducted right now to determine which tasks should be privatized and which should continue to be under the control of the state. Modernization of both the procedures and the equipment used by Berlin’s judicial system is also underway.In both the national and the international context, Berlin has a responsibility to enhance social cohesion and to develop prospects for the future. The city is thus taking an active part in the Agenda 21 process. At a UN conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, 173 countries agreed on this “Action Plan for the 21st Century”; it calls on towns and cities to initiate discussions with the public and then draw up their own Local Agenda 21 reflecting community agreement.

New Area
A new district is emerging on 420 hectares of southeastern Berlin: “Berlin Adlershof – City of Science, Business, and Media.” Offering an interesting mix of forward-looking companies and scientific institutes, Adlershof has already attained international renown with its research findings, its products, and its achievements. A complex comprised of apartments, shops, hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, schools, and a large park is being built around it and will be completed by 2010. A highly qualified workforce of up to 20,000 people will someday work in the “City of Science, Business, and Media.” Approximately 3,000 scientists and research assistants and 5,000 students will do research, teach, and learn here, and up to 10,000 people will live here. The technology park received the “Award of Excellence for Innovative Regions” from the 3rd European Forum for innovative companies in April 2002. Adlershof is also being expanded into the region’s largest studio location and a center for the media industry.
Science and Technology Park Berlin Adlershof
The heart of the Adlershof development area is a science and technology park. Twelve non-university research institutes, 362 technology-oriented companies, and around 6,800 highly qualified scientists and staff members have already settled here. Modern centers for individual disciplines have also been established, some in renovated older buildings and others in new buildings featuring spectacular architecture, such as the photonics center.Innovation in science and business is combined in Adlershof with living in green surroundings and with the further development of a location already rich in tradition: motorized flight in Germany originated here at the beginning of the 20th century, and the aviation research facility Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt (DLV) began its work here in 1912. During the GDR era, the natural science institutes of East Germany’s Akademie der Wissenschaften and the state-run television network were based here. Facilities from the early days of the DLV, such as a wind tunnel, a vertical wind tunnel, and an engine test bed, will be on display as part of an ensemble of technological monuments on the grounds of the Humboldt University campus and will further enhance the appeal of the Adlershof location.The third element is the university sector: in 2007, six of the Humboldt University’s mathematics and natural sciences departments moved from Berlin-Mitte to the new campus at Adlershof. The mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, geography, and psychology departments are now teaching and doing research at Adlershof.

Adlershof as a media location
Studio Berlin – a subsidiary of the state-owned NDR broadcasting corporation’s Studio Hamburg – is currently expanding on the existing infrastructure at the Adlershof media location to create the Adlershof media center. With seven fully equipped studios, Studio Berlin can provide the full range of studio and production services, including digital OB trucks, pre- and postproduction, and event management and technology. At 2,400 square meters, “Studio G” is one of the largest television studios in Europe.

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