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Democracy promotion law falls short of traffic light promises
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Press release of the Federal Association Mobile Consulting e.V.

It has been under discussion for 15 years and hopes were high: The Democracy Promotion Act was supposed to strengthen projects against right-wing extremism in the long term. That's what the recommendations of the NSU investigation committee in the Bundestag said, and that's what the coalition agreement between the two parties said. But the draft of the law, which was passed today in the Federal Cabinet and presented by Lisa Paus and Nancy Faeser, falls short of the coalition's promises: there is a lack of information on the funding period, there are no specifications for the creation of funding guidelines, there are no binding regulations to involve civil society in the further development and implementation of the law. The Federal Association of Mobile Counseling (BMB) and other civil society organizations had demanded all of this in recent months - in talks and written statements. But none of this has yet found its way into the law.

"The draft for the Democracy Promotion Act is almost unchanged compared to the draft bill from the fall," says Heiko Klare, spokesperson for the BMB. "We had made very concrete proposals for changes and offered our support. If the draft goes through the Bundestag like this, little will change for the Mobile Counseling Teams against Right-Wing Extremism and many other important democracy projects. Instead, we are threatened with continued annual funding, continued limited annual contracts, and continued lack of prospects. This is difficult to understand at a time when even the federal government has recognized the great dangers posed by right-wing extremism, racism, anti-Semitism and other ideologies of inequality."

Now it's up to the parliamentary groups in the Bundestag: They must ensure that the Democracy Promotion Act is concretized - and in such a way that it gives the projects the promised planning security. In addition Heiko Klare: "We require the democratic parliamentary groups in the Bundestag to readjust. The law must provide for a funding period of at least three years for projects and at least 10 years for victim, exit and mobile counseling. The law must explicitly name mobile counseling as an object of funding. And it must make it mandatory that civil society be involved in the funding guidelines, as it is in child and youth welfare, for example. Otherwise, the Democracy Promotion Act threatens to become a toothless tiger."

You can find the BMB's statement on the draft bill here, and the Federal Working Group for the Development of Democracy's (BAGD) draft bill for a Democracy Promotion Act here.

Miteinander e.V. is a founding member of the BMB and a member of the BAGD.