Germany plans 'early detection unit' to fight right-wing extremism

(L-R)Holger Muench, President of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), Thomas Haldenwang, President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), and Nancy Faeser, German Minister of the Interior and Home Affairs, hold a press conference on measures against right-wing extremism. Kay Nietfeld/dpa
(L-R)Holger Muench, President of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), Thomas Haldenwang, President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), and Nancy Faeser, German Minister of the Interior and Home Affairs, hold a press conference on measures against right-wing extremism. Kay Nietfeld/dpa
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Germany's Interior Minister Nancy Faeser plans to set up an "early detection unit" for foreign manipulation and influence campaigns as part of government efforts to fight right-wing extremism.

The plan is part of a package of 13 measures which Faeser presented in Berlin on Tuesday together with the head of the domestic intelligence services, Thomas Haldenwang, and the head of the Federal Criminal Police Office, Holger Münch.

Most of the projects in the package had already been announced previously.

According to the paper, right-wing extremists aim to undermine confidence in the stability and ability of the state to act. They share this goal with some foreign actors who also have an interest in weakening democracy.

"Autocratic states use fake accounts to create artificial reach on the internet, invent stories with AI-based images and feign credibility with copied newspaper websites," the paper says.

Such coordinated campaigns are used to manipulate the free formation of opinion and political debate and weaken democracy, it adds. The new early detection unit is intended to recognize such campaigns in advance.

"We want to use all the instruments of the rule of law to protect our democracy," Faeser said in a statement. "We want to smash right-wing extremist networks, deprive them of their income and
take away their weapons."

In the paper, the Interior Ministry also argues in favour of amending Germany's constitution to better protect the Federal Constitutional Court from the influence of enemies of democracy. This is also being discussed among legal experts, with a particular focus on the appointment of judges.

Nancy Faeser German Minister of the Interior and Home Affairs, gives a press conference on measures against right-wing extremism. Kay Nietfeld/dpa
Nancy Faeser German Minister of the Interior and Home Affairs, gives a press conference on measures against right-wing extremism. Kay Nietfeld/dpa
Holger Muench (R), President of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), Nancy Faeser (C), German Minister of the Interior and Home Affairs, and Thomas Haldenwang, President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), hold a press conference on measures against right-wing extremism. Kay Nietfeld/dpa
Holger Muench (R), President of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), Nancy Faeser (C), German Minister of the Interior and Home Affairs, and Thomas Haldenwang, President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), hold a press conference on measures against right-wing extremism. Kay Nietfeld/dpa