Germany to step up fight against right-wing extremism

Anti Far-right protest in Germany
Anti Far-right protest in Germany Copyright Jens Buttner/(c) Copyright 2024, dpa ( Alle Rechte vorbehalten
Copyright Jens Buttner/(c) Copyright 2024, dpa ( Alle Rechte vorbehalten
By Euronews with AP
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The country has seen an increase in the number of right-wing extremists over the last few years.


Germany's Interior Minister Nancy Faeser announced she aims to make it easier to track the finances of right-wing extremist groups. 

Faeser also plans to establish an "early recognition unit" focusing on detecting far-right and foreign disinformation campaigns as early as possible.

“German right-wing extremists and foreign autocrats have one thing in common: They want to stoke rage and divide, above all through disinformation,” the minister said.

She pointed to fake accounts and increasingly AI-generated photos and videos as a problem.

The “early recognition unit," based at the Interior Ministry, should start work “hopefully in a few months,” she added.

“We must recognise manipulation and influence campaigns very early to be able to stop them”.

The Interior Minister's proposals follow large protests against the far right that have swept across Germany in recent weeks.

They reflect growing concern after a report said right-wing extremists met to discuss deporting millions of immigrants, including some with German citizenship. 

It also said that some members of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party were present at the meeting. The AfD has seen a surge in popularity over the last five years, with support doubling since the country's 2021 election.

Germany's domestic intelligence agency says the number of far-right extremists has been rising. In 2022, they recorded 38,800 people, 14,000 of them considered potentially violent. The agency's head, Thomas Haldenwang, said the numbers are believed to have risen again last year.

Germany says no to right-wing extremism

Faeser said efforts to shut down extremists' financing have been hampered because financial investigations are limited to “inciting and violence-oriented” movements.

She suggested changing the law, to make a group's “threat potential” grounds for such investigations and that the proceedings should be faster and less bureaucratic.

“No one who donates to a right-wing extremist organisation should be able to rely on remaining undiscovered,” she said.

Faeser added that she's working with regional authorities on preventing right-wing extremists from entering or leaving the country.

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