It's about a lot of money, around 50 million euros for the next four years.

The tax money is due to the AfD-affiliated Desiderius Erasmus Foundation.

If the procedure is followed as usual.

Then the foundation could award scholarships, place research contracts and pursue political education in its favor.

Markus Wehner

Political correspondent in Berlin.

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Right-wing populist or right-wing extremist ideas could take root more firmly in society and find their way into universities and educational institutions. Because the actors of the AfD-affiliated foundation are "partly well networked and organized in the New Right for decades," said journalist Arne Semsrott on Tuesday in Berlin. He prepared a study on the Erasmus Foundation for the Otto Brenner Foundation of IG Metall.

According to the author, with reference to an internal concept of the foundation, it plans to create an educational institution and a political academy - with a staffing requirement of more than 900 positions. In the educational center, the aim is to train cadres close to the AfD, for example in the areas of rhetoric and argumentation techniques, and in the political academy, the "think tank", to meetings and conferences. The foundation's chairman Erika Steinbach is quoted as saying that the academy should "break down the existing exclusions, discourse blockades, fear of contact and taboos, improve our image and competence profile and make the seriousness gap that is said to exist in the alternative camp ad absurdum".

The study shows how closely members of the Board of Trustees of the Erasmus Foundation are connected to institutions and associations classified as right-wing extremists such as “One Percent”, the Institute for State Politics, right-wing extremist fraternities or publications such as the magazine Compact.

Ingratiate yourself with the "foundation mischief"?

So far, the party-affiliated foundations have received their money solely through the budget committee of the Bundestag; in 2019 it was 660 million euros. The funds are determined in so-called foundation talks, the election results of the last four federal elections play a role. The Greens and the Left Party have sued this awarding practice in previous years, but have come to terms with the system because their party-affiliated foundations have been included in state funding. There was also a long debate in the AfD itself as to whether one should ingratiate themselves with the “foundation mischief” - the high sums led to the decision that the AfD should not behave differently here than the so-called old parties.

So far it has been handled in such a way that a party-affiliated foundation receives state funding if it is permanently represented in the political system - this applies from the second entry into the Bundestag.

The AfD achieved this with the election on September 26th.

In the Bundestag, MPs from various parties point out that there is no automatic mechanism to grant the AfD-affiliated foundation proportionate funding.

In this case, the AfD has already announced that it will take action before the administrative courts in order to achieve equal treatment.

Draft for a "defensive democracy law"

In June, a broad alliance of civil society organizations launched a call to prevent the Erasmus Foundation from being funded. On behalf of the Anne Frank Educational Center in Frankfurt, the former green member of the Bundestag, Volker Beck, created a concept that focuses on a "defensive democracy law". The well-fortified democracy does not have to accept that the basic principles of the constitution are delegitimized with their own means. Similar to Beck, Semsrott, who runs the information portal “Ask the State”, comes to the conclusion that a foundation financing law is needed.

"Only if a legal basis for financing the party-affiliated foundations is created can the Desiderius Erasmus Foundation be prevented from receiving state funds that undermine democracy in the long term," he says. In addition, the work of the foundation must be reviewed and then a decision must be made as to whether it "should be deprived of its status as a non-profit organization".

When it comes to the question of a law to finance the party-affiliated foundations, the emerging coalition negotiations between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP come into play.

The Greens have written such a law in their election manifesto.

“We want to regulate the work of the political foundations in a more binding manner.

We want to ensure that they are based on the values ​​of the Basic Law and - also in their relationship with the parties - create transparency.

We are creating an independent legal basis for this, ”it says.

The Greens now have to make sure that their promises are realized, says Meron Mendel, head of the Anne Frank Educational Center.

The SPD must “finally show its colors” on the issue.

However, like the Union, it had so far rejected the idea of ​​statutory regulation.

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