Special meeting of the Home Affairs Committee on Civil Protection | free press


Berlin (DPA) – After the storm disaster, the domestic committee in the Bundestag is meeting today for a special session. In addition to possible omissions from the authorities, MPs want to talk about whether the federal government should do more for disaster protection in the future.

Until now, management of acute disaster situations was the responsibility of the federal states and municipalities. For its part, the federal government has the task of protecting the population in case of defence. Some experts consider this classification obsolete.

Commission questions Seehofer and Schuster

Information is provided by the members of the Committee of the Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) and the chairman of the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief (BBK), Armin Schuster. In March, you presented a concept for the reshuffle of the BBK, which provides for closer cooperation between federal and state governments in the event of a crisis. Schuster had already admitted flaws in the system during the devastating flood disaster. “That didn’t go well,” says Schuster.

Continued heavy rainfall led to flooding in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia on 14 July. At least 179 people died. After the storm, there were allegations that people in the affected areas were not warned quickly enough. Seehofer in particular received a lot of criticism. During the special meeting, the Greens had also wanted to question the Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Interior Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate Roger Lewentz (SPD).

Mihalic for amendment of the Basic Law

In the afternoon, the Green Chancellor’s candidate Annalena Baerbock and the Greens faction’s domestic political spokeswoman, Irene Mihalic, will comment on the lessons of the flood disaster. It should also address possible changes in civil protection and disaster relief.

Mihalic had previously asked for responsibility at the federal level for transnational or special situations. “We know such a model at the police of the Federal Criminal Investigation Service, which also takes on a coordinating role in special situations,” said Mihalic. The Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Management should take on this task.

Mihalic also considers an amendment to the Basic Law to reform civil defense as essential. “But we would like to see more commitment. I predict that eventually we will need legislative changes. And that’s not going to work without an amendment to the basic law,” she told the editorial network Germany (RND/Monday).

Mützenich warns of increased risk

SPD party chairman Rolf Mützenich, meanwhile, called on the federal states to participate in a joint development fund to protect against future disasters. “No one should pretend that they will be spared such dramatic weather conditions in the future,” said the RND Mützenich. The changed climate increases the risk for all Länder of being affected, as is now the case in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.

The question of what consequences should now be drawn in terms of disaster management should be carefully considered. Also whether there is a need for more federal competence in certain domains. It also states where and how the warning systems should be adjusted. “It should get better anyway, but you don’t break such decisions over your knees,” said Mützenich.

Construction assistance with further planning

Last Wednesday, the federal government decided to provide emergency aid of initially 200 million euros. The affected countries want to contribute more quickly with the same amount. A multi-billion dollar building fund is also planned. After the flood disaster of 2013, the federal government and all states jointly financed the expensive reconstruction. Several federal states had already indicated their willingness to support reconstruction aid.