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Konstantin von Notz (Greens), Ansgar Heveling (CDU), Johannes Fechner (SPD): "The most important regulation is quite clear: No money for enemies of the constitution"

Photo: Metodi Popov / IMAGO

Until now, state funding of party-affiliated foundations in Germany has not been regulated by law. The Bundestag has now closed this loophole. The new law stipulates that a foundation will only be funded if the party to which it is affiliated is represented in the Bundestag at least three times in a row.

In addition, the party in question must not be excluded from state party financing. And the foundation must offer the guarantee that it will actively stand up for the free democratic basic order and the idea of international understanding.

Foundations are close to all parties represented in the Bundestag. They carry out political education work at home and abroad, are active in political research and consulting, and award scholarships. Financial support from the federal budget amounts to several hundred million euros per year.

The law was passed with the votes of the SPD, the Greens, the FDP and the CDU/CSU. The majority of the Left Party also voted in favour. The AfD and all non-attached MEPs voted unanimously against it.

"No money for enemies of the constitution"

The AfD protested vehemently because it sees itself disadvantaged by the new law. She is only in her second parliamentary term in the Bundestag. The Desiderius Erasmus Foundation, which is close to the AfD, is therefore currently not entitled to funding. In addition, the demand for advocacy of the free democratic basic order is likely to become an obstacle in the future, because the AfD state associations of Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt are now classified by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution as guaranteed right-wing extremists. The AfD as a whole is considered a suspected right-wing extremist case.

"The most important regulation is very clear: no money for enemies of the constitution," said SPD MP Johannes Fechner. Konstantin von Notz, a member of the Green Party, said that the following applies to all foundations: "Anyone who deliberately rallies extremists behind them and makes themselves their mouthpiece must not be funded by the state."

Stephan Thomae of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) said that the foundations had great freedom in the use of the funds. "But one thing is clear: that they must not and never use these means against this democracy." CDU MP Ansgar Heveling expressed a similar view: "This law is not directed against any party at all, but rather explicitly demands a commitment to the free democratic basic order – and indeed from all parties that want to receive funding for their political foundations."

The AfD MP Albrecht Glaser, on the other hand, spoke of an alleged "AfD prevention law"; Erika Steinbach, chairwoman of the Desiderius Erasmus Foundation, called it the deliberate exclusion of "an important opposition force."

The legal regulation became necessary because the Federal Constitutional Court had rejected the previous funding practice last February after an AfD lawsuit. The allocation of global grants in the federal budget does not meet the constitutional requirements, the judges ruled. The AfD now also wants to take action against the new law in Karlsruhe.