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German parliament seeks to block neo-Nazis from federal funds

The Bundesrat has submitted a draft law barring the far-right NPD from federal finances to which it is currently entitled. The proposal would require a constitutional amendment.

Germany's upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, called for a constitutional change on Friday in order to prevent the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) from receiving federal funds.

Coming on the back of a failed attempt to have the NPD banned by the Constitutional Court, the Bundesrat presented the bill that would prohibit some legally recognized political parties from receiving state subsidies. As the law stands now, each party receives some money from the government based on their success in regional, federal and European elections. In 2015, the NPD was accordingly given 1.3 million euros ($1.38 million) by Berlin.

Watch video 02:04

Bundestag president weighs in on NPD verdict

The NPD has never garnered enough votes to be represented in the German parliament and does not currently have elected officials in any of Germany's 16 state legislatures - though in the past it has played a role in some states' politics. One member of European Parliament is from the NPD.

Changing this would mean amending Germany's Basic Law, the constitution adopted in 1949. It also has major symbolic importance as a barrier against a return to fascism.

The resolution, which was unanimously adopted by each federal state's representatives stated, "Everything must be done to ensure that parties that pursue anti-constitutional aims and whose political concept disregards human dignity are not enabled by state resources to achieve their goals."

The exact constitutional amendment, submitted by Lower Saxony, said that Article 21 of the Basic Law should read that "parties who pursue a course against the free democratic order" of the country could be excluded from public financing. The law must be approved by the lower house Bundestag before it can be adopted, however.

Watch video 00:36

Court rules against NPD ban

The Bundesrat recently failed in an attempt to have the NPD banned by the Constitutional Court. The judges in Karlsruhe ruled that the ultra-nationalists were too few and insignificant to warrant a federal ban.

State calls for more data exchange after shocking murder

In the Bundesrat, the state of Baden-Württemburg also called on better data sharing of criminal records between members of the European Union. The call came in light of a brutal rape and murder of a medical student in the idyllic city of Freiburg. The killer, a young refugee from Afghanistan, was well-known to Greek officials for attacking a woman on the island of Corfu in 2013. He had even been given a prison sentence for the crime, but this information never reached German authorities.

Baden-Württemburg's Justice Minister Guido Wolf said the EU should bolster its criminal records information system (ECRIS). Currently, information about convictions from other countries does not always appear in an information request. That must be changed for better security across the bloc, Wolf said.

es/sms (AFP, dpa)

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