The German justice and interior ministers have agreed on a four-year extension of a group of contentious laws used to investigate and prosecute suspected terrorists, the government said Wednesday.
Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told reporters in Berlin that the statutes in the anti-terrorism laws would be extended "as long as they are necessary."
The announcement comes after a month-long disagreement between Friedrich, of the Bavarian conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), and Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, of the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP).
Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger had pressured Friedrich to allow some of the statutes to expire, in particular those allowing authorities to monitor the postal service, which the Interior Ministry appeared ready to concede.
The FDP also made its support contingent on the establishment of an independent commission that would monitor the implementation of the anti-terrorism laws.
Strengthening of some statutes
Friedrich had meanwhile argued for the strengthening of some statutes, such as those giving some intelligence agencies the ability to monitor bank account activity and flight data.
Under the extended law, the government is to have the authority to request information from central agencies, rather than individual airlines or banks.
The anti-terror laws were passed after the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. They have since been reauthorized once and were set to expire at the end of the year.
Author: Andrew Bowen (Reuters, dpa, dapd)
Editor: Martin Kuebler