Published: 03 July 2017 Author: Stefan Talmon
For many years, foreign government officials and politicians were allowed to address the electorate of their own State at events in Germany. For example, in recent years Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish government officials on several occasions addressed compatriots living in Germany, home to an estimated 1.4 million eligible Turkish voters and a 3 million-strong ethnic Turkish community.
Visits by foreign government officials and politicians were usually notified in advance by the foreign country’s embassy in Berlin but the Federal Government took the view that such visits did not require prior approval. On 17 February 2017, the spokesperson for the Federal Foreign Office explained: “There is no request for approval. But that is also not required by law.” According to the Foreign Office, no decisions were taken at the federal government level. Campaign rallies by foreign politicians and government officials were seen as a matter purely of the German Assembly Act and administrative law more generally which were administered by the federal states and local authorities. That Germany, like any other sovereign State, could decide on who enters or leaves the country, was seen in this context more as a theoretical possibility. In response to a parliamentary question, the Federal Government replied that since the year 2000 (the date referred to in the question) it had never denied entry to a foreign politician or government official who wanted to speak at a campaign rally or other political event. (more…)