Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD)
Photo: Christian Spicker / IMAGO
The federal government has introduced a funding law to strengthen democracy in Germany.
As announced by Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) and Federal Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens), the Democracy Promotion Act was passed by the cabinet in the morning.
"Today is a good day for democracy," said Faeser at the federal press conference to present the draft law.
"We defend ourselves with all our might against enemies of the constitution and we strengthen our democracy from within," said Faeser.
"We are not dealing with harmless cranks, but with terrorist suspects," said Faeser, referring to a major raid by the security authorities against so-called "Reich citizens" last week.
"The greatest threat to our democracy is right-wing extremism," said the minister.
In particular, the new law is intended to regulate the conditions under which projects to promote democracy can be given long-term financial support.
According to the previous regulation, projects supported by the federal government are always limited in time - which is why they often mean uncertain framework conditions for those who implement them.
A legal basis that regulates these conditions does not yet exist.
According to the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, the new law is intended to provide “longer-term, age-independent and needs-based support than before”.
A catalog of criteria should determine the conditions under which funding is granted.
Family Minister Paus said that the law was intended to "commit the federal government to the fight against racism, extremism and misanthropy".
Programs and comparable measures funded under the law should continue to be scientifically monitored in order to check their effectiveness and sustainability.
Union criticizes "law without content"
The domestic political spokesman for the Union faction, Alexander Throm (CDU), questioned the added value of the funding law in advance.
"The draft for a democracy promotion law is a law without content," Throm told the dpa news agency.
In the past, "numerous preventive and promotional measures were launched without such a democracy promotion law."
The draft submitted gives educational institutions "no additional legal entitlement to funding" and only serves to "satisfy predominantly left-wing NGOs and educational institutions".
Faeser plans selective tightening of gun laws
After the "Reichsbürger" raid, Faeser wants to take further measures against extremists, including a selective tightening of gun laws.
"You don't need to own semi-automatic weapons privately," said Faeser.
Action must be taken here.
From their point of view, a tightening of the gun law is generally "right and important".
A number of weapons were also seized during the raid.
In addition, anti-constitutional officials should be easier to remove from public service.
On Wednesday last week, the federal prosecutor's office had 25 suspected "Reich citizens" arrested.
She accuses 22 of them of being a member of a terrorist organization that wanted to overthrow the political system.
Police officers searched more than 160 objects in several federal states, and arrests were also made abroad.
It is envisaged that this should be possible in the future by administrative act and not by administrative court judgment, which would speed up the procedure.
Both projects had been in the pipeline before the »Reichsbürger« arrests.
The FDP, among others, is critical of the gun law plans.