The Federal Constitutional Court has declared an increase in state party funding by 25 million euros to be void. The increase to 190 million euros per year decided in 2018 by the government factions of the Union and SPD in the Bundestag was unconstitutional, the highest German court ruled on Tuesday in Karlsruhe. (Az. 2 BvF 2/18)
There were 216 MPs from the Greens, Left Party and FDP - all opposition parties at the time - right. They had the constitutionality of the increase checked. Even if they benefit from the increase themselves, they considered the plus disproportionate and feared the impression of self-service.
With votes from the Union and the SPD, the Bundestag had decided on the whopping increase at the time. The parties justified this primarily with the growing challenges posed by digitization such as hackers, fake news and data protection on the Internet. In order to be able to cope with such tasks, more money is needed.
The background to the procedure are two limits for the state share of party funding. This was reorganized following a decision by the Federal Constitutional Court in 1992. How much money parties get from the state depends primarily on how they performed in the last election. State funds are adjusted to the rate of inflation, so they rise regularly. Other sources of income include membership fees and donations.
An absolute cap on government sub-funding sets the amount paid to all eligible parties. This was what the proceedings in Karlsruhe were about. Last year, after an adjustment of 2.5 percent, it was 205,050,704 euros. Since a ban on predominantly state party financing is derived from the Basic Law, the state share must not exceed that which the parties generate themselves - e.g. through membership fees and donations. This is the relative upper limit.
The AfD had also sued in Karlsruhe. She criticizes that the grand coalition passed the law in such a short time that there was no time for opposition work. The court wants to announce its verdict on this at 2 p.m. (Az. 2 BvE 5/18)