People with NPD can be very impatient
"Right-wing radicalism is not gone when the NPD is gone"
Head of the Junge Union Bayern rejects the new NPD ban application
Moderation: Leonie March
- NPD supporters in front of the Brandenburg Gate in May 1999 (AP)
The chairman of the Junge Union Bayern, Manfred Weber, has spoken out against a new application to ban the right-wing NPD. A second failure before the Federal Constitutional Court would strengthen right-wing radicalism, said the CSU politician, who is also the domestic policy spokesman for the EPP group in the EU Parliament.
Leonie March: The SPD wants to start a new attempt to ban the NPD. Group leader Struck called on the interior ministers to write a report on the chances of a ban. He himself sees no obstacles because, in his opinion, there are no longer any informants from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in the NPD leadership. Four years ago, a first attempt before the Federal Constitutional Court failed because of the unclear role of the informants. The majority of the CDU / CSU, however, is against it. She does not see the ban as a suitable means of combating right-wing extremism. Rather, this must be done through political means. - On the phone I now greet the CSU politician Manfred Weber. He is chairman of the Junge Union in Bavaria and domestic policy spokesman for the EPP parliamentary group in the EU Parliament. Good morning Mr. Weber!
Manfred Weber: Good morning Mrs. March.
March: Should the chances of banning the NPD, as Peter Struck demands, be examined?
Weber: It certainly always makes sense to check whether radicalism, including right-wing extremist parties, can be forbidden. But you always have to be aware of the dangers, and the risk is extremely high. That's what the experts say too. That is why I believe that it is more important to stand up, show moral courage and strengthen these forces.
March: The risk that the Federal Constitutional Court will say no again?
March: In your opinion, what speaks against a new attempt to ban the NPD in terms of content?
Weber: We then have a public debate, we want to fight right-wing radicalism and ban this obviously right-wing radical party. If such a ban procedure fails, then we clearly have a strengthening of right-wing radicalism in Germany. Germany, our country cannot afford a second failure. So be very careful!
March: But just out of fear not to strive for that at all?
Weber: We have clear guidelines from the Federal Constitutional Court and the protection of the Constitution continues to monitor the NPD with all methods available to it, which is also correct. So I'm very, very careful about that. That also distracts from the actual topic. Even if the NPD is banned tomorrow, we will not have the situation that right-wing radicalism, right-wing radical ideas and attitudes will be gone in Germany when the NPD is gone. So it distracts from the real issue.
March: Edmund Stoiber is against a ban. He said yesterday that right-wing extremists must be made harmless through political channels. So far this has not been successful. Are there any new approaches?
Weber: There are plenty of good examples that you might not notice in the big media world. I will give you a Bavarian example. In the town of Cham on the Czech border, we had the NPD wish to build a station, a facility, to rent a property there, and because people there stood up there, Junge Union, Jusos, all of them together, and demonstrated against it have fought, the NPD then had to pack up its goals, its plans there, so to speak. That is why there are plenty of good examples where getting up and showing moral courage also makes sense and is successful. We have to strengthen that. That is a very clear demand when it comes to politics now, how do we combat right-wing extremist ideas. For example, I am very concerned that we have more activities in the run-up to schools, where the NPD specifically approaches young people. Politicians now have to invest in youth work. Politicians now have to invest in further training for teachers, how do I react to them, how do I deal with these developments in order to fight.
March: Stoiber's designated successor in the office of the Bavarian Prime Minister, Günther Beckstein, demanded that the CSU should also offer a home to the voters of the democratic right. Against this background, isn't that a balancing act?
Weber: It is not a balancing act, but simply a matter of course for the CSU. The CSU is a big people's party. If you get these election results in a country with over twelve million inhabitants, you can only do that if you cover a wide range of people. That also means the clear indication: the CSU is not a right-wing party, but a large people's party. With regard to the conservative profile, the CSU has an important task within the German party landscape. We do not want these electoral groups, who exist in the right-wing arena, to slide into radicalism, we want them to stay with democratic people's parties. The offer must be made available by the CSU for the Union family as a whole.
March: And then won't it be difficult in some cases to draw the dividing line between patriotism and nationalism?
Weber: Definitely not. We have clear definition differences here too. The patriot is someone who loves his homeland and is also proud of it. The nationalist is someone who defines himself in opposition: I am better than the other. We will and we do not want to have anything to do with them.
March: Now, Mr Weber, you are also a European politician. A uniform gun law is currently being sought in Europe. This is one of the reasons why the Federal Minister of the Interior wants to relax the tightened regulation in Germany after the rampage in Erfurt. Target shooters under the age of 21 should again be allowed to buy large-caliber weapons and take them home with them. Do you think that's okay?
Weber: The Federal Ministry of the Interior says in its statements that after the changes we made two or three years ago, it has now carried out a risk analysis and has come to the conclusion that it has not brought any security gains.
March: But how do you want to measure that?
Weber: The question is: what happens. That is the benchmark. I have to point out - we also discussed this very intensively in the European Parliament - there are of course tens of thousands of young people who do this sport shooting out of a hobby and who work there. The Federal Ministry of the Interior also says clearly that the reliability test remains absolutely in place, i.e. the test of whether someone is able to handle such a weapon and whether he is using it harmlessly for the public. So please always see both sides and therefore just take a serious look at it.
March: But of course you could also take the opposite approach and say that we are now convincing Europe to raise the age to 21 years?
Weber: In Europe we have implemented a UN regulation in European law that regulates the approval of large-caliber weapons. That is the minimum requirement. Every country, including Germany, can make regulations that go beyond this and I don't think it makes sense to regulate German debates, where we find it difficult, via Europe. I think it makes sense to set minimum standards in Europe, and then Germany has to find its own way.
March: The chairman of the Freiberg Police Union also criticized Schäuble's rejection of a central weapons register. Do you also see a failure of the Federal Minister of the Interior in this?
Weber: With a decentralized weapons register, as we currently have, you can always track where certain weapons are in use and how they are being handled. The question is whether we always need central structures. Anyway, I'm more of the opinion that we have to think about how we can keep data protection high in view of the flood of data that we have in many areas. That was an issue that has always moved us very strongly in the European Parliament.
March: And especially when it comes to weapons?
Weber: That also applies to weapons. Even when it comes to weapons!
March: Thank you Manfred Weber, Chairman of the Junge Union in Bavaria and domestic policy spokesman for the EPP Group in the EU Parliament.
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