75 years of Basic Law: a success story with construction sites

Foto: Bundesregierung

23 May 2024 marks the 75th anniversary of the promulgation of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The Basic Law was the framework for the success story of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Adopted exactly four years to the day after the end of the Second World War on 8 May 1949 and coming into force two weeks later on 23 May 1949, it paved the way for the rapid rise of the young Federal Republic of Germany from the ruins of the Second World War to one of the strongest economies just a few years later.

Without the Basic Law, the German economic miracle would hardly have happened, and without the economic miracle, the second democracy on German soil would have had little chance of being widely accepted by the population!

The Federal Republic of Germany can rightly be proud of this anniversary.

The articles of the Basic Law are for the most part formulated clearly and comprehensibly for everyone:

  • Human dignity is inviolable. It is the duty of all state authorities to respect and protect it. (Art. 1 para 1)
  • Everyone has the right to life and physical integrity. The freedom of the person is inviolable. These rights may only be interfered with on the basis of a law. (Art. 2 para. 2)
  • All persons are equal before the law. (Art. 3 para. 1)

These exemplary provisions are in their linguistic simplicity, but clarity and comprehensibility for everyone a model, as should actually be applied to all legal regulations. Unfortunately, however, many laws lack such unambiguous provisions.

The fathers of the Basic Law drew on painful experience to create a sophisticated system of mutual control and joint responsibility between the federal and state governments that has proved its worth over the past 75 years and is designed to protect the Federal Republic of Germany from radical political upheaval.

A radical state government can only cause limited damage to the political structure of the Federal Republic – just as a radical federal government cannot rule against the states.

With the Federal Constitutional Court, the fathers of the Basic Law have created a strong judicial bulwark that cannot be circumvented. And thanks to the eternity clause, any government is constitutionally prohibited from adversely changing or even abolishing the fundamental rights laid down in Articles 1 – 20.

The Christian Trade Union Confederation of Germany (CGB) congratulates the Federal Republic of Germany on this special anniversary!

At the same time, it is all the more important today to adapt the Basic Law to current developments and to provide better protection against extremist endeavours!

The most important points from the point of view of the CGB:

  • The CGB supports political efforts to protect the Federal Constitutional Court more strongly against interference in its composition or structures. In particular, efforts to raise the hurdle for amending the Federal Constitutional Court Act to a two-thirds majority are to be welcomed. The Federal Constitutional Court should also be guaranteed the ability to function in the event of a political blockade when appointing new judges!
  • The commitment to membership of the European Union and the Council of Europe should be included in the Basic Law. This would make a so-called „Dexit“ from the EU considerably more difficult for a federal government – as would a withdrawal from the Council of Europe with the consequence that the European Convention on Human Rights would no longer apply!
  • Article 9 of the German Basic Law, which regulates freedom of association, must be supplemented by a provision stating that no one may be disadvantaged because of membership/non-membership of a trade union. In the view of the CGB, this provision is necessary because in many companies members of non-DGB trade unions are hidden or openly discriminated against. It is unacceptable, for example, that young people are denied an apprenticeship, a permanent employment contract or a professional career simply because they do not want to be a member of a particular trade union!
  • The principle of federalism has led to a large number of experimental laboratories at state level, particularly in school policy, which have often not been to the benefit of those affected. Particularly in view of the need to better prepare young people for working life, the small-state approach to school policy should be limited and the federal government should be granted regulatory competence in matters of school and dual training!
  • Recognising that there are also people who do not see themselves as men or women, Art. 3 para. 2 should regulate equal rights for people of all genders.
  • The obligation to promote training and work should be included in the Basic Law as a national objective.

Legally responsible for content Henning Röders, Deputy Federal Chairman CGB

About WOW

WOW was founded as a Social Christian trade union and finds inspiration in the spiritual believe that man and universe were created by God or by persuasions coinciding with that. The increase of intercultural contacts provided opportunities for the WOW to expand and broaden its view with visions of other religious backgrounds. WOW does so in a joint attempt to build a world community based on freedom, dignity, justice and solidarity.

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