Germany wants to triple compensation payments given to the surviving relatives of terror victims. Grieving families accused the government not doing enough in the wake of the 2016 attack on a Berlin Christmas market.
The federal government plans to increase financial compensation for the families of those killed in terrorist attacks to €30,000 ($36,000), the German commissioner for victims said Monday.
"The attack [on the Christmas market in Berlin] in December 2016 showed that there's a lot that needs to be improved," Commissioner Edgar Franke told the Rheinische Post newspaper in an interview.
Twelve people were killed and more than 70 were injured when Anis Amri, an "Islamic State" supporter from Tunisia, plowed a truck into a Christmas market at Berlin's Breitscheidplatz on December 19, 2016.
Financial aid 'far too low'
Under current rules, individuals are entitled to receive a lump sum of €10,000 for the loss of a child, parent or spouse, or €5,000 for the loss of a sibling. Franke said that level of support was "far too low," adding that the aim was to "increase hardship benefits for the surviving relatives from €10,000 to €30,000 and from €5,000 to €15,000."
The commissioner said the changes would also give tourists from other countries, including non-EU nationals, the right to such payments — something they were not previously entitled to.
"Of course we hope there will be no more terror attacks," he said. "But still, we have to prepare for such a case and create appropriate structures. Victims and survivors must be helped quickly and without too much bureaucracy."
The role of commissioner for victims of terror was created in March 2017 after survivors complained about the way they had been treated in the wake of the Berlin attack.
Many accused authorities of not providing them with timely information or enough financial support. Outrage was also directed at Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was criticized for initially failing to personally acknowledge the victims.
Last December, one year after the attack, Merkel invited victims' families to the Chancellery, and promised that Germany would improve support for victims and change how it deals with such incidents in the future.
nm/msh (AFP, dpa, KNA, epd)