Fighting right-wing extremism decisively


Fighting right-wing extremism decisively

Publication "Stärkung kommunaler Identität"


NSU, Anis Amri, Walter Lübcke: the debate on the role of the German security agencies in combating terrorism and, in particular, right-wing extremism shows no sign of abating. Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, deputy chairwoman of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, stressed that it was time the German security architecture was restructured:

‘To recognise and assess threats to the basic liberal democratic order and public safety long before police action, and thereby make it possible to combat them.’ (Source: verfassungsschutz.de, as at 25 June 2019)

The seventeen agencies for the protection of the constitution have had serious difficulties in carrying out this assignment consistently and effectively for years, as shown by the scandals around the National Socialist Underground, various liaison officers in the right-wing extremist scene, and the disastrous ‘co-operation’ in the surveillance of the Islamist threat and later perpetrator of the terrorist attack on Breitscheidplatz, Anis Amri. Right-wing extremism with a high potential for violence is now finally considered a grave danger to our society and democracy – too late; for too long, existing right-wing extremist networks were not taken seriously enough.

You might think that the agency for the protection of the constitution of the state of Hesse would be acting with particular dynamism and competence in the case of Walter Lübcke, the president of the regional administration who was shot dead: you would be disappointed. The principal suspect, Stephan E., who has now confessed, had been known to the authorities in the past as a potentially violent right-wing extremist with previous convictions. It must be presumed that this is another failure by a German security agency, which must finally have consequences. An improved exchange of information between different agencies has been promoted for years, and this goes on in the many counter-terrorism centres that have been created – where all the security agencies sit together at the same table.

A resilient democracy needs police forces and intelligence agencies operating efficiently and having the equipment and personnel necessary to make use of their existing powers. New posts for the security agencies are created every year at the federal and state level. Now it must be published how many new staff have been recruited and trained. A reduction of the seventeen agencies for the protection of the constitution to four or five key agencies, e. g. for the north, east, west, and south, will improve efficiency and avoid friction costs. The military counter-intelligence agency (MAD) should be abolished and its powers transferred to the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and the agency for the protection of the constitution. At present, there is a whole patchwork of agencies for the protection of the constitution in Germany. However, it is only by close co-operation, uniform standards, a clear division of responsibilities, and an efficient flow of information that an agency for the protection of the constitution can perform its duty of protecting our basic liberal democratic order in a measured and goal-directed manner.

Right-wing extremism is finally being seen as a major threat to our democracy.

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger


NSU, Anis Amri, Walter Lübcke: the debate on the role of the German security agencies in combating terrorism and, in particular, right-wing extremism shows no sign of abating. Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, deputy chairwoman of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, stressed that it was time the German security architecture was restructured: ‘To recognise and assess threats to the basic liberal democratic order and public safety long before police action, and thereby make it possible to combat them.’ (Source: verfassungsschutz.de, as at 25 June 2019) The seventeen agencies for the protection of the constitution have had serious difficulties in carrying out this assignment consistently and effectively for years, as shown by the scandals around the National Socialist Underground, various liaison officers in the right-wing extremist scene, and the disastrous ‘co-operation’ in the surveillance of the Islamist threat and later perpetrator of the terrorist attack on Breitscheidplatz, Anis Amri. Right-wing extremism with a high potential for violence is now finally considered a grave danger to our society and democracy – too late; for too long, existing right-wing extremist networks were not taken seriously enough.

Right-wing extremism is finally being seen as a major threat to our democracy.

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger

Publication "Stärkung kommunaler Identität"

You might think that the agency for the protection of the constitution of the state of Hesse would be acting with particular dynamism and competence in the case of Walter Lübcke, the president of the regional administration who was shot dead: you would be disappointed. The principal suspect, Stephan E., who has now confessed, had been known to the authorities in the past as a potentially violent right-wing extremist with previous convictions. It must be presumed that this is another failure by a German security agency, which must finally have consequences. An improved exchange of information between different agencies has been promoted for years, and this goes on in the many counter-terrorism centres that have been created – where all the security agencies sit together at the same table.

A resilient democracy needs police forces and intelligence agencies operating efficiently and having the equipment and personnel necessary to make use of their existing powers. New posts for the security agencies are created every year at the federal and state level. Now it must be published how many new staff have been recruited and trained. A reduction of the seventeen agencies for the protection of the constitution to four or five key agencies, e. g. for the north, east, west, and south, will improve efficiency and avoid friction costs. The military counter-intelligence agency (MAD) should be abolished and its powers transferred to the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and the agency for the protection of the constitution. At present, there is a whole patchwork of agencies for the protection of the constitution in Germany. However, it is only by close co-operation, uniform standards, a clear division of responsibilities, and an efficient flow of information that an agency for the protection of the constitution can perform its duty of protecting our basic liberal democratic order in a measured and goal-directed manner.

Recognise and combat ‘swarm terrorism’ at an early stage

Fight hate crime online

Disarm members of right-wing extremist networks

Strengthen security agencies against right-wing extremism and terrorism

Federal Security Architecture Reform (Federalism Reform III)

Fight right-wing structures in authorities and intelligence services

Strengthen prevention and deradicalisation

Improve protection standards for vulnerable meeting places such as mosques and synagogues

Expand reporting points for anti-Islamic and anti-Semitic incidents

Promotion of education and media literacy