bInterior Minister Nancy Faeser wants to step up her efforts in the fight against right-wing extremism. To this end, the SPD politician wants to set up an “early detection unit” of the federal government for foreign manipulation and influence campaigns. The project is part of a package of 13 measures entitled “Resolutely combat right-wing extremism – use the instruments of defensive democracy,” which Faeser presented on Tuesday in Berlin together with the heads of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang, and the Federal Criminal Police Office, Holger Münch . However, the majority of the projects listed are already known and some have already been decided.

Right-wing extremists want to undermine trust in the stability and ability of the state to act, according to the new paper. They shared this goal with some foreign actors who also had an interest in weakening democracy. “This is how autocratic states create artificial reach on the Internet with fake accounts, invent stories with AI-based images and fake credibility with copied newspaper websites.” Such coordinated influence campaigns attempt to manipulate the free formation of opinions and political debate and weaken democracy . The new early detection unit is intended to detect such campaigns in advance.

“We want to use all the instruments of the rule of law”

“We want to use all the instruments of the rule of law to protect our democracy,” said the SPD politician when presenting the program on Tuesday in Berlin. Right-wing extremism remains “the greatest threat” to the free basic order in Germany.

In the paper, the Interior Ministry also calls for a change to the Basic Law in order to better protect the Federal Constitutional Court from the influence of enemies of democracy. This is also being discussed among lawyers, particularly when it comes to filling judge positions. With the catalog of measures, Faeser also called for progress in the faltering reform of gun law and referred to the reform of disciplinary law that has already been passed – this should make it easier to remove enemies of the constitution from the federal public service in the future.

According to the plan, the entry and exit of right-wing extremists should be prevented as much as possible. In addition, research into the sources of money for right-wing networks should become easier. Local police and regulatory authorities such as the trade and restaurant supervision should – based on information from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution – prohibit right-wing extremist events if possible.

The new projects are based on the “Action Plan Against Right-Wing Extremism,” which Faeser presented in March 2022. Some of them are already included in the previous paper, such as the plans to tighten gun laws. It is necessary to “continue to pursue the course we have taken at full speed and at the same time react to new developments,” says the catalog of measures that has now been presented. “Additional measures and options are needed to get to the root of the danger of right-wing extremism.”