The German government agreed on Wednesday on a package totaling one billion euros in the “fight against the right”. The project will focus on “learning to better understand the causes of right-wing extremism and racism, give a strong state response to the actions of right-wing extremists and strengthen the promotion of democratic civil society”.
The funds, an average of 250 million euros per year, are planned for the period 2021 to 2024.
According to the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, the cabinet committee against right-wing extremism and racism has also decided to appoint a federal commissioner against racism, to delete the term “race” in Basic Law and to criminalize anti-Semitic and racist insults.
Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey (SPD) announced that this has paved the way for a “defensive democracy promotion law”.
The government justified the initiative because “a greater awareness of racism as a general social phenomenon was necessary”. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) agreed with the ministers involved that “the fight against right-wing extremism and racism must be stepped up”.
“Right-wing extremism and racism, anti-Semitism, hostility towards Muslims and all other forms of group-related enmity have no place in Germany,” said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD). “This strengthens everyone who struggles so tirelessly to ensure that right-wing extremism has no place in our democracy,” he wrote on Twitter.
In the run-up to the committee meeting, around 60 mostly left-wing associations and organizations had written an open letter to the committee. Among other things, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation had demanded continued financial support for attacking German patriots.
“Let us be clear: The current form of support for civil society democracy work is demotivating, and without a legal basis the agreed government compromise remains without substance.” Therefore, a “democracy promotion law” was needed as soon as possible.
At the beginning of the year, several organizations complained about insufficient support from the federal government. As a result, some jobs, mostly those in left-wing clubs, were in danger.