Cabinet Committee for the fight against racism and right-wing extremism, chaired by Chancellor Angela Merkel

The Committee met on Wednesday immediately after the regular Cabinet meeting.

Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

Over the period 2021 to 2024, the German government is to provide a total of over one billion euros to fight racism and right-wing extremism. In addition, the German government will propose to the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag for the settlement session for the 2021 budget that another 150 million euros be provided to fund the measures. That was the recommendation of the Cabinet Committee for the fight against racism and right-wing extremism.

The Committee presented a list of almost 90 specific measures to be taken in the fight against racism, right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism. The funds are to be used, for instance, to step up research and prevention. Cooperation between security authorities, the judiciary, and relevant state and civil society bodies is to be reinforced.

Understanding the root causes and providing responses

The members of the Committee agree that the fight against racism and right-wing extremism must be stepped up. With this package, the German government wants to better understand the root causes of racism and right-wing extremism in particular, to provide a strong government response to the actions of right-wing extremists and to step up support for democratic civil society. 

The list of 89 measures takes into account the statements made by representatives of civil society, especially representatives of migrants’ organisations and the science and research community, as well as representatives of the individual federal states who were heard by the Cabinet Committee before it drew up its measures.

Four key goals

All measures aim to help achieve the goals set out in the first report of the Cabinet Committee dated 20 May 2020:

1. Generate a greater awareness of racism as a phenomenon that affects society as a whole
and improve state structures to fight racism and right-wing extremism; step up cooperation between the security authorities, the judiciary, and relevant state civil society bodies and improve the empirical bases.

2. Extend and step up work within the regular structures across society to prevent right-wing extremism and racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and all other forms of enmity against any perceived group of persons, also online. Further develop political education and work to promote democracy.

3. Extend the support for victims of racist discrimination and the social environment. Ensure effective protection for victims and enhance sustainable structures to fight racism.

4. Recognise and value a diverse society that ensures equal opportunities for all, and strengthen equal opportunities for people with a migrant background to participate in society.

Listening to those affected was particularly important

The Cabinet Committee is to meet for the fourth time in the first quarter of 2021. A final report on the work of the Committee and the implementation status of the list of measures is then to be submitted to the German Bundestag.

Earlier the Committee had looked very specifically at right-wing extremism, racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of enmity towards specific groups of people that is regrettably still too frequently experienced by some of our fellow citizens in their everyday life.

The second meeting of the Committee on 2 September 2020 involved a hearing with representatives of civil society, especially migrants’ organisations and the science and research community. This had already been preceded by a number of different preliminary hearings and a top-level meeting of federal and state government representatives.

Members of the Committee: Chancellor Angela Merkel chairs the Cabinet Committee. Designated Chairperson is Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer, with Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz as Deputy. The Federal Minister of Justice, the Federal Minister of Defence, the Federal Minister for Family Affairs, the Federal Minister of Education, the Head of the Federal Chancellery, the Federal Government Commissioner for Integration, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, the Federal Government Commissioner for Digitalisation and the Federal Government Spokesperson are also members of the Committee.

Other members of the government can be called on where their specific field of responsibility is affected. There are three permanent guests: the Federal Government Commissioner for the New Federal States, the Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Anti-Semitism, and the Federal Government Commissioner for the Victims and Bereaved of Terrorist Offences Committed on National Territory.