Beyond Borders

Beyond Borders

If you missed our special 30 minute documentary called “Beyond Borders” – A Trip Abroad, you can watch it here.

Hosts David Wagner and Monica Quintero cover a variety of topics including the Berlin Wall versus the Border Wall. November marks the 30 year anniversary since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

We also take a look at immigration and the gun control debate.

Search through our “Beyond Borders” stories under our community tab. You’ll find galleries of pictures that include quotes, special videos from social media and 360° views of some of the areas we visited. Our hope is to give you a better experience of what we saw firsthand.

Augmented Reality – Try out this effect. It only works on your iPhone or iPad. It puts you right in front of the Berlin TV Tower, CLICK HERE.


1) How many states does Germany have?- Germany consists of 16 federal states.

2) How many political parties currently have seats in the German parliament?- There are currently 6 political parties in German parliament – 7, if you countCDU and its sister party, the CSU, as separate parties.

3) What parties are in the current government?- The CDU/CSU and the SPD are the “Grand Coalition” running the German government.

4) Which party leads the current government? And which is the “junior” partner?- The CDU is the leader of the current government, with the SPD acting as the junior partner.

5) Which parties are in opposition in the German parliament?- The Left, The Green Party, AfD, and FDP make up the parliamentary opposition.

6) Which parties won which percent in the last election in 2017? And how long did it take to form the current government?- The CDU/CSU won 32.9% of votes, and obtained 34.7% of parliamentary seats. SPD won 20.5% of votes, and obtained 21.6% of parliamentary seats. AfD won 12.6% of votes, and obtained 13.3% of parliamentary seats. FDP won 10.7% of votes and obtained 11.3% of parliamentary seats. The Left won 9.2% of votes, and obtained 9.7% of parliamentary seats. And the Green Party won 8.9% of votes, and obtained 9.4% of parliamentary seats. – Four-six months. After elections in September 2017, a deal was finally reached with SPD in early February 2018, a little over four months later. However, the SPD vote to agree to the coalition was in early March 2018, meaning Germany was without a formally-elected government for nearly six months.

7) Which party in Germany is known as the “center-right” or “conservative party”? What is its “color”- The center-right party is the CDU/CSU. Its color is black.

8) Which party in Germany is known the “center-left”? Its color is?- The center-left party is the SPD (Social Democratic Party). Its color is red.

9) Which party in Germany is known as the pro-environment party? Its color is?- The pro-environment party is the Green Party. Perhaps predictably, its color is green.

10) Which party in Germany is known as the pro-business. Liberal, centrist party?Its color is?- The pro-business party is FDP (the Free Democratic Party). Its color is yellow.

11) Which party in Germany is known as the “post-Communist” party that is alsoblamed for the Berlin Wall? Its color is?- The “post-Communist” party is Die Linke (The Left). Its color is also red, but it’s typically given a purple/pink color to distinguish from SPD.

12) Which party in Germany is known as the “extreme far-right party”? Its color is?- The far-right party is AfD (Alternative for Germany). Its color is blue.

13) What is a “grand coalition?”- A “grand coalition” is a governing coalition of Germany’s two largest parties.

14) What is a “black-red” coalition?- A “black-red” coalition is a coalition between CDU/CSU and SPD, and historically the typical “grand coalition.”

15) What is a “red-green” coalition?- A “red-green” coalition is a coalition between SPD and the Greens, and is the typical center-left government make-up.

16) What is a “red-red-green” coalition?- A “red-red-green” coalition is a coalition between SPD, the Left, and the Greens.

17) What is a “Jamaica coalition” and why is it called that?- A “Jamaica coalition” is a coalition between CDU, FDP, and the Greens. It is referred to as a “Jamaica coalition” because the three party colors – black, yellow, and green – are the colors of the Jamaican flag.

18) Who is currently the chancellor and how long has she/he been chancellor? – The current chancellor of Germany is Angela Merkel. She has been chancellor since 2005, and is currently in her fourth term.

19) Please name the three post-war German chancellors and their party affiliation who have ruled at least 3 if not 4 terms? (12-16 years) – Konrad Adenauer, 14 years. Party: CDU. – Helmut Kohl, 16 years. Party: CDU. – Angela Merkel, 13 years (currently). Party: CDU.

20) How many countries are in the European Union now?- There are currently 28 countries in the European Union.

21) How was the EU formed and why?- In 1958, the European Economic Community was formed between six countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. (The UK was also involved in the creation of the EEC, but wouldn’t join officially for a few decades.) The official purpose was to “foster economic cooperation” after the destruction of WW2, but its other purpose was to create interdependence in Europe’s economic trade. As the threat of another war decreased, the EEC grew in both size and breadth, moving from simple economic trade to climate & health issues. In 1993, the EEC’s name officially changed to the European Union, and its size has since grown to 28 members.

22) What is NATO?- NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It was formed in 1949 as a mutual defense pact. In the wake of WW2 and against the rising threat of the Soviet Union, NATO was both a political and military alliance, and has remained a powerful institution for peace-keeping until present day.

23) How many countries are in NATO?- 29.

24) What is Article 5 of NATO and why is it important?- Article 5 states that an “attack against one shall be considered an attack against all.” If called, it requires that all NATO members lend military force to the country under attack.

25) Which country called “Article 5” and why?- The United States was the first and only country to utilize Article 5, directly after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center & the Pentagon. Troops from all member nations were then deployed to Afghanistan.

26) When was the Berlin Wall built and why?- The Berlin Wall was built in 1961. The official reason was to keep Westerners out of East Berlin (and East Germany) after the establishment of the Stalinist state. Its true purpose, however, was to keep East Germans from escaping to the West.

27) When did the Berlin Wall fall and why?- The Berlin Wall fell in 1989. There were multiple reasons for the wall’s destruction – first, there was an international upheaval within the Soviet Union and its satellite states. Second, the Soviet Union’s leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, promoted ideas of freedom and openness, leading to protests at the borders. Third, East Germany was crumbling from the inside, and no longer had the necessary resources to stop protestors.

28) What does RIAS stand for? What was RIAS?- RIAS stands for Radio in the American Sector (Rundfunk im Amerikanischen Sektor). It was founded by the United States in 1946 in the American Sector of Berlin, and was created to be the ‘American voice’ for news and political reporting in Germany. Originally a radio station, it became a TV broadcaster in 1988. In 1992, RIAS TV merged with Deutsche Welle, and Germany and America agreed to create the RIAS Berlin Commission as an exchange between German and American journalists.

29) What is Radio Free Europe and where is it based?- Radio Free Europe is US-funded journalistic organization, committed to reporting uncensored, unbiased news in the 22 countries where the free press is either banned by the government or not yet fully formed. Originally based in Munich, Germany, Radio Free Europe’s headquarters were moved to Prague in 1995. Its corporate office is in Washington, DC.

30) How much money do German public broadcasting networks get each year? 1 billion euros? 2 billion euros? 8 billion euros?- Germany’s public broadcasting networks receive €7.6 billion per year from its licensing fees (Rundfunkbeitrag), plus an additional €500 million per year from commercials, for a grand total of €8.1 billion. Germany’s public broadcasting networks have one of the world’s largest budgets.

31) What is Brexit?- Brexit is the name for Great Britain’s referendum vote to leave the European Union. As of April 2019, Britain and the EU are still negotiating the terms of the divorce.

32) What is the difference between the European Union and European Commission?- The European Commission is an institution of the European Union, and acts as the governing body of the EU. It handles the day-to-day business of the EU, such as proposing legislation and implementing/enforcing policies.

33) Can you name the president of the European Commission? What was he/she before he/she was picked for that position?- The president of the European Commission is Jean-Claude Juncker. Before becoming the European Commission’s president, he was the Prime Minister of Luxembourg.

34) Can you name the president of the European Council? What was he/she before he/she was picked for that position?- The President of the European Council is Donald Tusk. Before becoming the European Council’s president, he was the Prime Minister of Poland.

35) What is the difference between the president of the European Commission and the president of the European Council?- The president of the European Council is in charge of setting the general political direction and priorities of the EU, and represents Europe on foreign and security issues. The president of the European Commission, in contrast, organizes the Commission itself and leads the charge in implementing the EU’s policies. Also, the president of the European Council is elected by the Council itself (made up of member heads-of-state), while the president of the European Commission is elected by the European Parliament.

Courtesy: RIAS Berlin Commission

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