His statements on extreme right-wing riots in Chemnitz, Saxony, have cost the outgoing German constitutional protection president Hans-Georg Maaßen his job. He should become special advisor in the Ministry of the Interior. After he had repeated his statements in a recent speech and criticized the SPD, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) drew the consequences on Monday.
On Monday afternoon, Seehofer transferred the controversial constitutional protection president with immediate effect to his temporary retirement. He asked President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for this step. According to media reports of the Funke media group (Tuesday editions), which are based on statements from security circles, Maaßen has already asked the Ministry of the Interior for the transfer to temporary retirement last week. Seehofer now took this step.
The alternative of dismissal from office for disciplinary reasons would have been „completely absurd“, said the administrative scientist Ulrich Battis. This would be the most severe sanction against Maassen and a loss of his entitlement to salaries: „You can dismiss a civil servant for life only by a court decision.“ The transfer to temporary retirement could be made by a decision of the President, the expert said. The right to a retirement pension exists and the salary will continue to be paid for three months.
Speech published on the intranet
The reason for the dismantling of Maassens is a speech he should have held according to a report of the „mirror“ in mid-October before the heads of European domestic intelligence services in Warsaw. He criticized the SPD: „From my point of view, this (statements about the events in Chemnitz, n.) For left-wing forces in the SPD, who were against the idea of forming a coalition with the CDU / CSU, was the welcome occasion to provoke a break in this governing coalition. „
Since he was known in Germany as a „critic of an idealistic, naïve and left foreigners and security policy,“ this was also a reason for my political opponents and for some media to urge me out of my office. „He also could Imagine life outside the public service. He could „also switch to politics or the private sector,“ said Maaßen, according to the manuscript. His speech left Maaßen as unrated document in the intranet of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
Interior Minister „humanly disappointed“
„Unacceptable formulations“ in this speech were the trigger for his decision to put Maaßen into early retirement, Seehofer explained his decision on Monday. Against this background, a trusting cooperation is no longer possible. He also accused Maassen of crossing the border if he described the entire immigration policy as naive and leftist. In addition, Seehofer regretted that Maassen continued his speech with a „politically completed affair“, although he repeatedly regretted his earlier statements on the Committee on Internal Affairs. This also distinguishes the situation today from a few weeks ago. He was „humanly disappointed,“ said Seehofer.
Seehofer also wants to know his decision as a signal to support and promote „objective work in the coalition“. The former vice-chairman of the constitutional protection, Thomas Haldenwang, should provisionally take over the tasks of Maaßens. Seehofer announced that it would submit a proposal on the new regulation of the protection of the constitution in a timely manner.
Seehofer „loser of the evening“
The Maassen case is closely linked to Seehofer, who had always been with him. Now the pressure on the Minister of the Interior is increasing too – by the SPD, the CDU and the opposition. The opposition left demands Seehofer’s resignation. Green Party leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt also questioned the Minister of the Interior: „I believe that Horst Seehofer is not a suitable Minister of the Interior of the Federal Republic of Germany not only because of this question.“ Seehofer is strong since the CSU crash in the Bavarian state election as party leader struck.
SPD faction vice Eva Högl said that her party had demanded Mass dismissal weeks ago. Seehofer obviously came to the conclusion. „This happens only very late and makes Mr. Seehofer the loser of the evening.“
The CDU Bundestag delegate Patrick Sensburg criticized Seehofer: „That was not a clear administration.“ The Greens in the Bundestag – supported by the FDP – demanded a special meeting of the responsible parliamentary control committee of the secret services. In addition, Seehofer should be interviewed on Wednesday before the Interior Committee on the case Maaßen. The AfD co-chairman Jörg Meuthen, however, expressly presented himself before Maaßen.
The AfD co-chairman Jörg Meuthen, however, expressly presented himself before Maaßen. He is an excellent and careful official.
Cause Maaßen led to coalition crisis
Maaßen had questioned the authenticity of a video on the riots in Chemnitz in the summer and denied that there had been hunts there. His contacts with politicians of the right-wing populist alternative for Germany (AfD) also caused irritation. Seehofer had long resisted a dismissal of Maaßens at the head of the domestic intelligence service. This coalition-level dispute almost led to a break in the German government in September.
Because first, the leaders of the CDU, CSU and SPD had agreed that Maassen as Secretary of State to the Ministry of the Interior changes. But that would be equal to a promotion with a salary of more than 14,000 euros per month. When the outrage on the part of the SPD in particular became too great, the government agreed to employ Maassen as head of department for European and international tasks in the Ministry of the Interior. This post is not needed.