Parliamentary Digest 17th April

Sitting days and agenda

The next sitting week for the Bundestag is next week, 20th – 24th April.

Information about what is happening in the Bundestag on a daily basis (including in committees and parliamentary questions) can be found in the ‘Heute im Bundestag’ section of the Bundestag website (in German) here. The timetable can be found here and agendas and sittings under ‘Tagesordnungen und Sitzungsverlauf’ here.

State parliaments will meet next week to legally enact the corona virus agreements made on a national level on Wednesday.

The next sitting week for the Bundesrat is 27th – 30th April, when the committees will be sitting. A plenary session is planned for 15th May.

Information about the plenary sessions of the Bundesrat can be found here and information about its responsibilities here.

A short guide in English about how legislation is passed in Germany can be found here and the Rules of Procedure in Parliament here.

What’s going on in the Bundestag

Basic pension draft law

The government’s  bill for the basic state pension, will be debated next week.  According to the draft, around 1.3 million people with small pensions will receive a supplement from January 2021. Long-term low earners who have at least 33 years of contribution periods for employment, education or care should be able to receive the basic pension.  Doubt had been cast over whether the plans could proceeded because of the corona crisis.

Draft law on right-wing extremism and hate crime

Following consultations, the government released  its draft law to combat right-wing extremism and hate crime. The government notes that the law is primarily about effective law enforcement, including committing crime on the Internet, where increasing brutalisation of communication in social media can be observed.

The draft law introduces  a reporting obligation for providers of social networks; criminal content must be reported to the Federal Criminal Police Office. The definition of illegal content has been adapted to include the crime of disparaging the memory of the deceased. The reasons for this is content surrounding the murder of the CDU politician Walter Lübcke in 2019.   The draft also expands criminal law to include the threat of dangerous bodily harm.  Crimes that have not yet taken place will also be recorded. Insulting statements made publicly, in a meeting or through the distribution of writings will in future be punishable to a maximum of two years in prison. Defamation and defamation against persons of political life will also apply.

Refugees and asylum seekers

In an answer to a question from the Left Party, the government said that last year, 2,192 people were recognised as entitled to asylum in Germany, while 42,861 received refugee protection and 19,419 subsidiary protection. The main countries of origin were Syria with a total of 38,367 cases, ahead of Iraq with 6,185, Turkey with 4,943 and Afghanistan with 4,605.

Terrorism

In an answer to a question about terrorism proceedings, the government said that last year  244 investigations were related to international, non-Islamist terrorism, 401 investigations related to Islamist terrorism and  24 investigations related to right-wing terrorism in Germany.

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