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Germany: Political foundations receive 659 million euros from the government - AfD-affiliated Desiderius Erasmus Foundation is excluded

The German government is making a total of 659.2 million euros available to political foundations this year.

Berlin - This is a decrease of 2.7 percent compared to the previous year, reports the "Welt" (Friday edition), citing a survey of the federal ministries. But in the last ten years, government grants to foundations close to the SPD, CDU, CSU, Greens, FDP and Left Party have risen sharply. In 2013 the total was 445.9 million euros.

The funds for 2022 will come from four federal ministries: development (340 million euros), interior (160 million euros), education (71.4 million euros) and the foreign office (87, 8 million euros). A title in the federal budget with which all expenditure for the foundations could be recorded at a glance is missing so far. The taxpayers' association criticizes the lack of transparency and calls for a foundation law.

"There the procedure for the allocation of funds, the amount and the growth rates of the funds must be regulated transparently and comprehensibly," said Reiner Holznagel, President of the Taxpayers' Association, the newspaper. A stop rule for grants is necessary. The Federal Court of Auditors must carry out regular checks - and not just check whether the funds have been used correctly.

Only the AfD-affiliated Desiderius Erasmus Foundation (DES) is excluded from state funding. Shortly before the 2022 federal budget was passed, the government coalition groups, with the approval of the Union and the left, introduced an additional rule for political foundations. This emerges from a note by the budget committee from May, about which Welt reports.

It says: "Grants may not be granted if there are reasonable doubts about the constitutional loyalty of organs or employees." Accordingly, only the six foundations of the other parties represented in the Bundestag are eligible for funding. DES boss Erika Steinbach told Welt: "The budget committee has made itself a judge over our constitutionality, which it is not entitled to." Her foundation has a funding claim of around seven million euros for 2022. The committee chairman and former head of the Chancellery Helge Braun (CDU) did not want to comment on the exclusion of the DES from funding because it was an application from the government factions, the newspaper writes. However, he supported this himself.

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