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Interior ministry "wish list": strengthen central government security, policing and deportation powers
4.1.16
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German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere has announced a series of proposals that revolve around giving the German federal government more power over security agencies, cyber attacks, policing and deportations; permitting the deployment of the military internally; expanding the scope of the proposed EU Entry/Exit System and loosening the the EU definition of "safe third countries".

The proposals would centralise many responsibilities of Germany's federal states and are being touted as a response to the Berlin Christmas markets attacks in December, although de Maiziere has reportedly admitted that he has called for most of the changes before.

According to Deutsche Welle:

"the recent terror attack, the most serious in Germany in over 35 years, did not prompt de Maiziere's considerations, it simply gave him a reason to group them together into a kind of list of demands."

Those demands include:

  • Dissolving the individual security agencies of the German federal states (Länder) and "turning over the protection of the constitution entirely to the federal government" - thus significantly strengthening the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz);
  • Expanding the powers of the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt), which de Maiziere has said are currently "far too restrictive" as the force is currently restricted to "protecting train stations, airports and national borders";
  • Giving the federal government "greater powers to renounce residency permits," allowing deportations to be "directly carried out" by federal government agencies (rather than individual states, which is currently the case);
  • Giving the federal government the power to construct deportation centres;
  • Create a "national cyber defence centre";
  • Making it possible for the internal deployment of the army when "police are stretched to capacity" (this will require amending the German constitution);
  • Loosen the definition of "safe third countries" at EU level, to make it easier for asylum-seekers to be removed to or kept in non-EU states (there is an ongoing political deadlock in Germany regarding the domestic classification of north African countries as "safe" for asylum-seekers and refugees);
  • Expand the scope of the proposed EU Entry/Exit System, currently due to store biometric details and record the entry and exit of all third-country nationals in possession of short-stay visas, so it is "capable of truly recording all movement across the external borders".

Sources

Domestic security: Thomas de Maiziere's 2017 wish list, Deutsche Welle, 4 January 2017

De Maiziere outlines plans for federal deportation centers, Deutsche Welle, 3 January 2017

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