The dispute over state funding for the AfD-affiliated Desiderius Erasmus Foundation is about to be clarified by the Federal Constitutional Court. On October 25, the judges of the Second Senate will hear about the party's legal action, as they announced on Friday in Karlsruhe. Experience has shown that the verdict will be announced a few months later. (Az. 2 BvE 3/19)
A new urgent application by the AfD was rejected as inadmissible. The party wanted to ensure that the foundation was already getting money. A similar urgent application had already failed in 2020.
Erika Steinbach is chairperson
The AfD officially recognized the Erasmus Foundation as a party-affiliated foundation in mid-2018. The chairperson is the former CDU politician Erika Steinbach, who now belongs to the AfD.
Currently, only the other six party-affiliated foundations receive so-called global grants from the federal budget: the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (CDU), the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (SPD), the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FDP), the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (Left), the Heinrich Böll Foundation (Greens) and the Hanns Seidel Foundation (CSU). A total of 148 million euros are earmarked for this this year. The money is intended for socio-political and democratic educational work.
The funds come from the budget of the Ministry of the Interior. The foundations also receive money from other ministries and also from the Bundestag. Who gets how much is determined in the budget negotiations and decided by the Bundestag. There is no law setting out the exact conditions.
This is how the Constitutional Court has ruled so far
According to a landmark ruling by the Constitutional Court in 1986, it must be ensured "that such funding adequately takes into account all permanent, significant political trends in the Federal Republic of Germany". It must therefore take into account "the plural structure of social and political forces". A joint declaration by the foundations in 1998 states that a suitable indication of the longevity should be "repeated representation, at least once in the size of a parliamentary group" in the German Bundestag.
The AfD entered the Bundestag for the second time in a row in 2021. She sees her right to equal opportunities violated. Her lawsuit is directed against the Bundestag, the budget committee, the federal government and the interior and finance ministries.
Doubts about the constitutional loyalty?
They believe that the Basic Law does not give rise to any direct entitlement to funding. The Budget Act 2022 states that the grants would “only be granted to political foundations that, according to their statutes and their overall activities, offer the guarantee at all times that they are committed to the free democratic basic order within the meaning of the Basic Law and stand up for its preservation”. They should not be granted "if there are reasonable doubts about the loyalty of organs or employees to the constitution".
The chairman of the Steinbach Foundation criticized the recent rejection of the urgent application. The disadvantage is "completely obvious, a constitutional justification absolutely not recognizable". "The Federal Constitutional Court is deliberately acting stupid," she explained.
Organ complaints are called so because a dispute between federal organs about their rights and obligations under the Basic Law is to be clarified.