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In Mai, the European Union undergoes its biggest expansion to date, enlarging its boundaries with the accession of new – mainly eastern European – member states. Germany’s borders with its eastern neighbours Poland and the Czech Republic become more permeable.

In Düsseldorf, former Mannesmann executives are brought to trial for illegally receiving, or authorising, bonus payments of millions of euros. They are eventually found not guilty. However, a snapshot showing the CEO  of Deutsche Bank posing as a winner triggers a national debate on the arrogance of executives.

The wearing of headscarves by Muslim girls and women in schools or at work is a topic controversially discussed both in politics and the general public. The parliaments of the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Lower Saxony and Saarland pass laws banning headscarves for school teaching staff.

What else happened?

In Saxony, the rightist extremist party NPD reenters a German state parliament for the first time in decades.

A major fire at the Duchess Anna Amalia Library in the city of Weimar destroys tens of thousands of historically valuable books.

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