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No more state money for party linked to neo-Nazis?

Nicole Goebel
February 2, 2018

The extremist National Democratic Party (NPD) could lose state funding following a vote by Germany's upper house. The party's espousal of Nazi ideology has worried lawmakers for decades.

man holding NPD flag
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/J. Büttner

Representatives from all 16 German states — known as the Bundesrat — voted on Friday to ask Germany's highest court to apply a law that would see the far-right NPD cut off from state funding for six years.

"Today we bring a motion by all the [German] states that serves to prevent the NPD from getting funds from the state, which it is actively working against," Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer from the state of Saarland, who led the intitiative, said on Friday.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann chimed in, saying that it was "absurd" that German taxpayers supported the far-right party.

Read more: Police arrest far-right members ahead of anti-migrant protests in Cottbus

The initiative follows two failed attempts to have the NPD banned. In a controversial decision last January, the Constitutional Court ruled against a ban, arguing that although the NPD had anti-constitutional objectives, it did not have the political clout to undermine German democracy.

Court rules against NPD ban

No taxpayers' money

The court did, however, say that the NPD and other anti-constitutional parties could be weakened by limiting their access to funding.

In June 2017, Germany's Basic Law was changed to that effect. It now allows lawmakers to start a legal process that deprives extremist parties of government funds. 

Read moreA guide to Germany's far-right groups

The case will now be sent to the Constitutional Court. If it rules in favor, the NPD would be cut off from state funding for six years.

Before the constitution was changed, any party garnering 1 percent in a local election or 0.5 percent in a national or EU election automatically qualified for state funding up to the amount of money raised by the party itself.

In 2016, the NPD received €1.1 million in state funds.

The neo-Nazi NPD has been a thorn in the side of post-war Germany since its foundation in 1964. It's seen as Germany's most extremist active far-right party.

Despite the fact that it no longer plays a major role in Germany's political landscape, many argue it should be banned for its anti-constitutional objectives. Others argue a ban would be undemocratic.

The first attempt to outlaw the party failed in 2003, when judges dismissed the case after revelations that German security services had infiltrated the party.