After sabotage: Wissing and Faeser want to better protect the railway infrastructure

After the sabotage attack on railway facilities in Berlin and Herne, Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) announced an improvement in the protection of railway stations and railway facilities.

After sabotage: Wissing and Faeser want to better protect the railway infrastructure

After the sabotage attack on railway facilities in Berlin and Herne, Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) announced an improvement in the protection of railway stations and railway facilities. Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) announced on Monday that he had set up a staff office for infrastructure security in his house.

"By 2024, the federal government and Deutsche Bahn will invest 180 million euros and increase the number of cameras to 11,000," said Faeser during a visit to the Leipzig Federal Police Inspectorate. It is impossible to fully protect more than 33,000 kilometers of railway track and millions of cable kilometers with cameras, sensors or by emergency services. Nevertheless, necessary protective measures would be taken at “particularly neuralgic points and in the event of specific warnings of danger”.

Because cables along the Deutsche Bahn facilities had been severed, rail traffic in northern Germany was disrupted for hours on October 8th. During her visit to Leipzig Central Station, the Federal Minister inspected various places along the train system. "We take the current risk situation very seriously. The security of our critical infrastructure is my top priority," emphasized the SPD politician.

In order to be able to protect themselves better against attacks in the future, the operators of critical infrastructure must also step up their measures, appealed Faeser: "They must arm themselves comprehensively against dangers such as natural disasters, terrorism, sabotage, but also human behavior." A new law is also planned in order to be able to place increased demands on the operators.

There are already "guidelines for civil reporting and situation management in a crisis and in a state of defense". However, this procedure has not yet been activated.

The experts from all departments of the ministry and the subordinate authorities would come together in the new staff office of the Ministry of Transport, Wissing told the editorial network Germany (Monday). The aim is to better network the departments with their existing security mechanisms and competencies. "New developments, new innovations also bring new challenges for safety. We have to think about these and take appropriate precautions," emphasized Wissing.

"The lifelines of our society"

In connection with Russia's war against Ukraine, the transport minister also considers the German infrastructure to be a potential target. "This war has shown that infrastructure is an important target of military strategy and thus of potential attacks," he said.

When asked whether he expected further attacks after the sabotage against the railway, the FDP politician explained: "Our infrastructures are the lifelines of our society. That makes them an attractive target from the point of view of potential attackers." The infrastructure included not only roads, bridges and rail lines, but also data lines and communication facilities.

Leon Eckert, rapporteur for civil protection for the Greens in the Bundestag, told the German Press Agency that the plan to set up a staff unit for infrastructure security in the Ministry of Transport makes sense, "but only in a coordinated overall context". Corresponding positions would also be needed in other ministries, as well as a higher authority where the information from the individual areas would come together. "Either the Federal Ministry of the Interior or the Chancellery would then have to have a general overview - an agreed and uniform solution is needed."

The Federal Ministry of the Interior should activate the reporting guidelines, which are intended to provide an up-to-date overview of critical infrastructure in all areas. "We not only received an up-to-date picture of the situation, but could also practice the processes for emergencies at the same time," argued the Green politician. Finally, different sectors of critical infrastructure could not be viewed in isolation because "when the power goes out, many areas are affected - from communications to water supply".

Glossary Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance

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