Civil protection: Bavaria’s Interior Minister Herrmann calls for “considerable investments” in civil protection from the federal government
For example, Germany will have to prepare much better for threatening storms in the future, Herrmann said. It is important that the federal and state governments “fundamentally reassess and expand” the capabilities to protect the civilian population. It is also about protecting critical infrastructures from hacker attacks and manipulation.
The minister shares Armin Schuster’s view. The former CDU member of the Bundestag is President of the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK). In “Spiegel”, Schuster welcomed the intention of the federal government to equip the Bundeswehr with 100 billion euros. But at the same time, politicians must invest in civil protection.
“Five billion euros over the next five years to protect the population would be a good start,” said Schuster. This area has not been in focus for decades. Now the war in Ukraine “makes us aware that we have to change this right now”.
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In the 2022 budget an additional €20 million is currently earmarked for the BBK. In total, this would be around 271 million euros – about half of it for personnel and administrative expenses.
Interior Minister Faeser promises more money for civil protection
the The Bonn authority is geared towards protecting the population in times of tension and defence. In addition, the BBK can support the responsible countries in civil protection in peacetime.
The fact that the new security policy situation in Europe will cause immense follow-up costs for Germany, even beyond the announced Bundeswehr investments, was also recently made clear in the Bundestag debate on the budget for the Ministry of the Interior. Home Secretary Nancy fibers (SPD) spoke of “additional financial burdens” that had not yet been taken into account in the budget.
In the “Welt am Sonntag” newspaper, Faeser promised further funding for civil protection. “The turning point that we are experiencing as a result of the war means that we must also significantly strengthen protection against military threats. We are working hard to ensure that the federal government can coordinate and control this more effectively,” she said.
The Greens agree. “In the course of the ‘peace dividend’, civil defense was massively reduced and is also being neglected in the current debates,” said the parliamentary director of the Greens, Irene Mihalic, to the Handelsblatt. “Now is the time to correct this mistake and to massively and permanently strengthen civil protection.”
Almost 600 public shelters nationwide
Herrmann announced that, as chairman of the conference of interior ministers, strengthening civil protection would be a priority in the interministerial rounds this year. It is about improving the warning of the population against disasters and dangerous situations.
“The expansion of a nationwide siren network and the introduction of the cell broadcast mobile service must be tackled with high priority,” he said. The federal siren support program is an important step, but by no means sufficient. “This must therefore be significantly increased financially and extended in time in order to ensure that sirens are installed across the board.”
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According to Interior Minister Faeser, there are currently almost 600 public shelters nationwide. It will be checked whether there are more such systems that can be expanded, she said. Instead of dismantling shelters, the structural fabric of buildings such as underground car parks, subway stations and cellars must be reinforced. We are working on new concepts here.
The Bavarian Minister of Construction Christian Bernreiter (CSU) had spoken out in favor of the reactivation of war-proof underground car parks. “There used to be significant subsidies for underground car parks that were developed as security systems for military conflicts. You have to discuss that intensively again,” he recently told the “Bild” newspaper.
Faeser also advocates stockpiling for crisis situations. The main focus is on medical equipment, protective clothing or medicines.
The Greens politician Mihalic campaigned for an “efficient” civil protection authority, reliable warning devices and comprehensive stockpiling of medical protective goods. “We also have to do even better with the aid organizations, fire brigades and technical relief organization,” she explained.
At the same time, Mihalic emphasized that a “substantial strengthening of civil protection cannot be had for free”. But every investment makes sense and will also be available to deal with natural disasters such as floods.
>> Read also: “Adapt to the new situation as quickly as possible”: Germany is only partially prepared for an emergency
Authorities chief Schuster also sees the citizen’s turn. You should prepare more for emergencies. “What is conceivable can also happen,” said Schuster. Germany had long been a country with few crises. “Now we have several serious crises at the same time: the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, climate change with all its consequences.”
More: SPD parliamentary group leader Mützenich on the consequences of the Ukraine war: “A new economic order is emerging”