Bundestag seeks prohibition of far-right party
The German Parliament has adopted a motion to prohibit the right-wing extremist National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) in the Federal Constitutional Court.
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The motion was not, however, adopted unanimously. The governing Social Democrats and Greens as well as the left-wing Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) supported the motion, the main parties of the opposition, the Christian Democrats and the Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) as well as the liberal Free Democrats (FPD) however, "supported" it in a separate position paper only, while refusing to join it formally.
The CDU/CSU argued that it would be inappropriate for their deputies to make their own appeal in light of the motion's approval in the Bundestag and the Bundesrat.
The Free Democrats repeated critical doubts about the success of the suggested prohibition. While they push for an all-out political fight against the menace of neo-Nazism, they do not expect that right-wing extremism would diminish as a result of legal action. Legal action on issues such as this one is one of the most delicate tools at the disposal of the Federal Constitutional Court.
Schröder in Warsaw
Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in Warsaw on Wednesday 6 December confirmed his view that Poland should be in the first group of Central and East European countries to be admitted to the European Union. His trip to Warsaw directly preceded the annual meeting of the European Council, this year known as the Nice Summit, which started on 7 December.
By confirming this position on Poland's acceptance to the EU, he dismissed earlier allegations that he had abandoned this time-honoured position of German politics since 1989. Apart from its size and relative weight, Poland has always been credited in Germany for its crucial role in ending Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and its positive stand on German re-unification.
Schröder also buttressed the Polish government's view that the EU should be prepared to accept new members by 1 January 2003. It seems at time of writing that the delegates of the Nice Summit will adopt this motion.
Making deals at the Nice Summit
It seems that Schröder is about to forge a deal with his French counterpart at the Nice Summit. At the time of writing, all factors indicate that Schröder will receive a couple of extra seats for Germany in the European Parliament. This is in exchange for backing down on his controversial demand of added weight for Germany in the European Council. This idea was completely unacceptable to France.
Still under discussion is the German proposal of "double majority voting." Under this plan, not only the qualified majority of votes for a proposal would be required within the EU but also a majority of votes from the EU population. If accepted, this would effectively give Germany more power while leaving the numeric voting weight of the member states unchanged—in order to cater to the French insistence on equality.
A related issue at the Nice Summit is the general enlargement of qualified majority voting in the Council. The possibility of a common asylum policy remains a touchy policy field for the German delegation. Germany will accept majority voting only if a clear binding legal basis is adopted to protect Germany against a severely disparate acceptance of refugees by the member states, as has been the case during the Bosnian and Kosovo wars.
Jens Boysen, 8 December 2000
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