A cabinet committee is to strengthen the fight against right-wing extremism and racism in the future. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) announced this after the eleventh integration summit in the Chancellery. The decision goes back to an open letter from migrant associations after the racist attack in Hanau, in which such a committee had been requested. Merkel said about Hanau that it was important to correctly name this act - "it is right-wing extremism". There is "nothing to talk about". The Chancellor called for a more peaceful social discourse. "It begins well before violence begins that we need to be alert."
This time, the integration summit focused primarily on the question of what migrants should know before they come to Germany. The federal government wants potential migrant workers to acquire certain knowledge in their country of origin - for example, learn German. Before the start of the event, Merkel and Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) had spoken to representatives of migrant associations about the attack in Hanau. On February 19, a 43-year-old German shot nine people with a migration background in the Hessian city. He also killed his mother and himself.
Before the summit, the migrant organizations had called for a "decisive fight against racism and discrimination" in an impulse paper. For example, a new state goal must be included in the Basic Law that Germany is a "diverse immigration country". At the same time, the terms "race" in the Basic Law had to be deleted. Furthermore, a "National Council for Intercultural Opening" should be set up based on the example of the National Ethics Council - with the participation of migrant organizations.
Merkel said that it was "our deepest concern" that everyone in Germany, regardless of their origin or religion, felt safe and comfortable. In addition, she advocated a different way of dealing with people in Germany who have a different skin color. Her grandfather came from Poland, said the chancellor. Nobody, however, came up with the idea of asking her, Merkel, where she actually came from. People with a different skin color also experienced this in the third generation - they were born and raised in Germany. "That has to change," said the Chancellor.
"Recognize, name and combat racism"
The chairman of the African Network of Germany, Sylvie Nantcha, praised the establishment of the new cabinet committee, but also said: "We demand that the federal government act decisively against racism and right-wing extremism." The Federal Government's Integration Commissioner, Annette Widmann-Mauz (CDU), also said: "We have to recognize, name and combat racism." Right-wing extremism is "currently the greatest danger in our country". More sustainable extremism prevention and democracy work are necessary.
Federal Minister of Family Affairs Franziska Giffey agrees. "Germany has a problem of racism," said the SPD politician. It is good that racism was treated as a central topic at the integration summit - "but talking is not enough, we have to act". On the one hand, the security authorities would have to be set up "so that they can prevent racially motivated acts and can identify and punish perpetrators". But it is equally important "that we fight the fight against racism and right-wing extremism as a society as a whole stronger than before and invest in prevention work".
Giffey called for "a reliable legal basis at the federal level" for "sustained promotion of civil society work against racism and for an open, democratic society". This costs money. "I will go to the forthcoming budget negotiations with a call for more resources to fight racism and I expect that the integration summit will not remain in good words," announced the minister.
The left chairman Bernd Riexinger also said in Berlin that the words of the federal government must be followed by action. Instead of repeatedly talking about individual offenders, "the right-wing radical network" must be destroyed. In addition, "all right-wing structures" would have to be disarmed immediately.