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CSU guest speaker von der Leyen: 2024 "a key year for democracy"

Photo: Peter Kneffel / dpa

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has shown understanding for the concerns of farmers demonstrating in Germany, but criticised violent actions. "Violence has no place in democracy," she said on Saturday at the retreat of the CSU members of the Bundestag in the Upper Bavarian monastery of Seeon. »Dialogue is the central tool in democracy.«

At the same time, von der Leyen stressed: "I can understand the concerns of farmers very well, insofar as they rightly demand recognition for ensuring our food security and that they should also generate a decent income for it." For this reason, a structured dialogue with farmers and the entire supply chains has now been started at the European level. "We want to work with them to find solutions for the scenarios of the future."

Sceptical about downsizing the EU Commission

From the point of view of the EU Commission President, 2024 is "a key year for democracy", in view of the elections in Europe and the USA. We will do everything we can to ensure that open free democracies prevail," von der Leyen said. She called for Europe to position itself more strongly in defence: "Europe must have protection as its core task."

Von der Leyen distanced herself from the CSU's push to reduce the size of the EU Commission from the current 27 to 7 commissioners. It is important for her to note "that it is rightly a very important concern for all member states to be represented at the European level," she said. Representation in the European Commission by a Commissioner is hugely important for Member States, especially for the smaller Member States." That is why she holds this principle very highly.

CSU paper: Prison sentences for anti-Semitism

A tougher approach to anti-Semitism is a focus of the continuation of the retreat of the CSU members of the Bundestag. On Sunday afternoon, the regional group is expecting the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, as a guest.

In the draft of its position paper, which is to be adopted at the retreat, the party has once again spoken out in favour of consistent action against any form of anti-Semitism. According to the will of the Christian Socialists, this is to be classified as a serious case of incitement to hatred and subsequently punished more harshly with at least a six-month prison sentence. In the opinion of the CSU, the advertising of sympathy for terrorist organizations should also be made a punishable offence again.

From the point of view of the CSU, foreign persons who commit anti-Semitic crimes should also be deported in the future. Migrants convicted of an anti-Semitic crime would have to lose their protection status in Germany. Dual nationals who commit anti-Semitic crimes should have their German passports revoked.

The CSU retreat will continue until Monday. At the end of the meeting, farmers' president Joachim Rukwied and Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) are expected in the monastery. Then the announced nationwide farmers' protests against the federal government's plans to abolish special tax breaks for farmers are likely to become the most important issue.