In remarks published in the “Welt am Sonntag” newspaper Sunday, Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann advocated for the army to be allowed to deploy within Germany to support the police in case of a terror attack, Deutsche Welle reports.
Germany’s constitution, drawn up in the aftermath of World War II, places strict limits on the use of the military, the Bundeswehr, within the country’s borders. Those regulations were now obsolete, Herrmann said.
“We have an absolutely stable democracy in our country,” he said. “It would be completely incomprehensible… if we had a terrorist situation like Brussels in Frankfurt, Stuttgart or Munich and we were not permitted to call in the well-trained forces of the Bundeswehr, even though they stand ready.”
In most European countries that was the case without question, he said.
The interview was conducted following the July 18 ax attack on a Bavarian regional train in Würzburg, in which a young asylum seeker who said he was from Afghanistan wounded five passengers, but before Friday’s shooting in Munich.
The idea of the Bundeswehr deploying domestically remains controversial in Germany, and politicians have for years been discussing whether to change the constitution to make such deployments easier.
In the view of Thomas Strobl, the interior minister for the state of Baden-Württemburg, deploying soldiers was not necessary in the cases of Würzburg or Munich.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told the Funke media group that internal security was first and foremost the role of the police but the constitution did allow the Bundeswehr to assist in situations of extreme danger. Von der Leyen had previously indicated that a terror attack would be considered such a situation.
On the other hand, the general secretary of the Social Democrats, Katarina Barley, cautioned against the misuse of the events in Munich for political ends.
“Whoever is calling for more surveillance, closing ourselves off and domestic deployment of the military in the face of this tragedy is exploiting the victims,” she told the Funke media group.