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Featured texttospeech Economía Digital EckertDaniel Fachkräftemangel Candy Haus

What civil society would like to have financed by the federal government

For years, some representatives of non-profit organizations have been demanding that state funding for civil society projects be indefinitely.

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What civil society would like to have financed by the federal government

For years, some representatives of non-profit organizations have been demanding that state funding for civil society projects be indefinitely. They argue that the commitment of German civil society cannot be sustained without state funding and that projects in the field of prevention, for example, must be designed for the long term. So far, the federal government has supported private initiatives to a large extent, among other things, through the program “Live Democracy” – but only on a project-related basis and for a very limited time.

After a long discussion about a democracy promotion law, the Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs recently presented the "Draft of a law to strengthen measures to promote democracy, diversity design, extremism prevention and political education". Nevertheless, the "Federal Working Group on Democracy Development" (BAGD) is disappointed because the phenomena to be combated are not named, but summarized under extremism prevention.

Islamism, which, unlike hostility to Muslims and Islam, was not mentioned in the key issues paper, should also fall under extremism. The BAGD, an association of more than 60 civil society organizations, including the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, presented its own proposal that explicitly includes "right-wing extremism, racism, anti-Semitism, antiziganism, hostility towards Muslims, homophobia and transphobia, anti-feminism, social Darwinism, hostility towards the disabled , sexism, classism and adultism”, but would like to exclude the “prevention of anti-constitutional efforts in the sense of an understanding by the security authorities” from the law.

This proposal is surprising in view of the fact that some of the phenomena listed, above all right-wing extremism, fall under "anti-constitutional efforts in the sense of an understanding by the security authorities". In addition, Islamism is not mentioned, which primarily harms Muslim women and is therefore anti-feminist and anti-Muslim, so it should be one of the main concerns of the BAGD.

However, these are not the only anomalies in the receivables. The BAGD demands that its sponsors should be able to participate in the design of the guidelines for awarding – i.e. they can define the criteria in such a way that they themselves meet them. What is justified with a meaningful design borders on corruption. Contract awards are advertised independently of contractors to force contractors to accomplish the purpose of the task—not to make themselves the purpose.

Contrary to what was claimed in the discussion, most non-profit organizations in Germany are not dependent on state funding, only around 30 percent receive state subsidies. According to the think tank “Civil Society in Numbers”, non-profit limited liability companies, through which a large part of the prevention of extremism is carried out, depend on tax money. Over 60 percent of gGmbHs receive state funds, and 30 percent are financed primarily from state sources.

Instead of providing these few organizations with unlimited funding, the state funding practice should be fundamentally reconsidered. Especially in prevention projects that refuse to sign an extremism clause that commits them to the Basic Law - i.e. to the bulwark against extremism, which has taken into account all the phenomena that endanger democracy listed by the BAGD.

Anyone who does not subscribe to principles such as equal rights for women and men is not only questionable as a recipient of state funding, but also completely out of the question for any form of extremism prevention.

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