German Cabinet approves new civil defense plan | News | DW | 24.08.2016
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German Cabinet approves new civil defense plan

The government of Chancellor Angela Merkel has given the green light to the first civil defense strategy in 21 years. The plan is aimed at combating new security threats in the 21st century.

The German Cabinet on Wednesday approved a new strategy that is meant to provide better protection for citizens during catastrophes and crises.

The plan, which replaces a previous strategy laid out in 1995, is aimed at taking account of new threats facing society in the 21st century, including terrorism, cyberwarfare and infrastructure attacks.

The document warned that "the security policy environment has changed again," saying that Germany should be "sufficiently prepared in case of an existence-threatening development in the future, which cannot be ruled out."

Details of the plan have not yet been officially made public, but according to information leaked to the media, the concept raises the possibility of bringing back military conscription, which was phased out in 2011 after 55 years. The proposal met with considerable opposition within Merkel's coalition government.

Another proposed measure that would require civilians to stockpile food and water for use in emergency situations has drawn critcism from opposition parties, with critics dismissing it as fearmongering by the government.

New spectrum of threats

The new strategy lists attacks by conventional, biological and chemical weapons as among the possible threats facing the country, as well as attacks targeting critical infrastructure such as water, electricity and gas supplies.

According to government sources, the measures are not a direct result of the recent terror attacks in Germany.A speaker for the Interior Ministry also said that no new laws were planned as yet on the basis of the crisis plan.

The plan was to be officially presented in the capital, Berlin, later on Wednesday by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere. The presentation is scheduled take place at a water supply facility.

tj/rc (dpa, Reuters)

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