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Federal Constitutional Court: Before judgment: funding for AfD-related foundation?

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So far, the other parties have been able to prevent the Desiderius Erasmus Foundation from receiving millions from the federal budget. But the funding criteria are vulnerable.

Does the Desiderius Erasmus Foundation, which is close to the AfD, also have a right to government funding in the millions? So far, she has not received any money from the federal budget. The AfD sees itself indirectly disadvantaged by this and has complained in Karlsruhe. The Federal Constitutional Court will announce its verdict on Wednesday (10 a.m.).

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The deputy AfD federal spokeswoman Mariana Harder-Kühnel told the dpa that it was scandalous that the other six party-affiliated foundations “are granted annual public grants totaling around 660 million euros, but only the AfD foundation is exempt from this”. From the budget of the Ministry of the Interior alone, 148 million euros in so-called global grants are planned for this year, which serve political education work. The remaining money comes from the Ministries for Development and Education and the Federal Foreign Office.

New passage in the budget law

To date, the funding criteria have not been regulated anywhere by law. A Karlsruhe judgment from 1986 serves as a guideline. It states that it must be ensured that “all permanent, important political trends in the Federal Republic of Germany are adequately taken into account”.

In 1998, the foundations themselves made a proposal for practical implementation. In a joint statement, it is said that a suitable point of reference should be “repeated representation” of the relevant party in the Bundestag, at least once in the size of the parliamentary group. That’s what politics has been based on ever since.

In 2021, the AfD entered the Bundestag for the second time after 2017. However, the Erasmus Foundation (DES) still does not receive any money. Because since 2022 there has been a new passage in the budget law. According to this, the grants are “only granted to political foundations which, according to their statutes and their overall activities, offer the guarantee at all times that they are committed to the free democratic basic order in the sense of the Basic Law”.

Can the AfD complain at all?

At the hearing in October, DES Chairwoman Erika Steinbach said that a maximum of 50 events per year would currently be possible without subsidies, that no grants could be awarded and that no party archive could be set up. In doing so, the foundation “guarantees under no circumstances” convey anti-constitutional, anti-Semitic and inhuman ideas or racism.

The extent to which the Second Senate would comment on the comment in the Budget Act and the current situation in its judgment remained open at the time. The AfD had already tried the procedure in 2019 and later extended its applications several times to new budget years – most recently just before the hearing. The judges wanted to discuss how to deal with it. It was also discussed whether the AfD can sue instead of the foundation.

The AfD is of the opinion that the DES is entitled to almost eight million euros for 2022 and almost twelve million euros for 2023. In perspective, annual funding of 80 million euros can be expected.

Organizations see DES as a major threat

The exciting question is whether the court will insist on a law with binding criteria this time – and what these could look like. In their coalition agreement, the traffic light factions SPD, Greens and FDP had made it their goal to provide better legal protection for the funding of the foundations. But so far that hasn’t happened.

Organizations such as the Campact civil movement and the Anne Frank educational institution accuse politicians of having delayed the issue. The Desiderius-Erasmus-Foundation poses a threefold danger: “It shifts discourses and political attitudes further to the right, right-wing babble is scientifically packaged and right-wingers throughout Germany can massively expand their organizational structures and networks. And all that with our tax money.”

Source: Stern

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