Germany: Merkel rejects calls for apartment expropriation

MarketsAssociated Press

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Protesters attend a demonstration against rent increase in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, April 6, 2019. Slogan in the foreground reads 'Stopp Deutsche Wohnen (housing company)' (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Chancellor Angela Merkel and her center-left allies are rejecting calls for the expropriation of apartments from corporate property owners in response to rising rents in German cities.

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Affordable housing activists in Berlin launched a grassroots campaign on Saturday to force the city government into taking over nearly 250,000 apartments worth billions. There were protests over increasing rents in other cities.

Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday the chancellor doesn't think seizing property is the right solution. He said "the key to affordable living space is not expropriation but having a sufficient number of apartments available."

Andrea Nahles, who leads the junior party in Merkel's governing coalition, said expropriation is a "false solution."

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This version has been corrected to show first name of lawmaker in final paragraph is Andrea, not Andres.