The “Heimat” department in the Federal Ministry of the Interior, which was created at the insistence of the CSU, is given a new direction under the new head of the house, Nancy Faeser. The SPD politician reported in an interview with the German Press Agency that she had “rebuilt and strengthened” the department set up under her predecessor Horst Seehofer (CSU). “I turned the homeland department into a department to strengthen our democracy, to prevent any form of extremism and for social cohesion.”

Faeser’s change from the opposition bench in the Hessian state parliament to the head of the Federal Ministry of the Interior came as a surprise: many observers at the time had guessed that today’s Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) was the first woman to hold this office. For Faeser, too, the call to Berlin came at very short notice in December. “I didn’t have much time to think about it,” said the former leader of the opposition from Hesse. “Olaf Scholz called me on Sundays and on Mondays I was in front of the camera.”

The 51-year-old has not yet responded to speculation that she could leave the cabinet prematurely in order to become the top candidate for the Hessian SPD in 2023. In an interview with the dpa, she emphasized: “I am the Federal Minister of the Interior and Homeland with heart and soul. My full power applies to this office.”

When she took office in December, Faeser named fighting right-wing extremism as a priority. “But I’ve also experienced other forms of extremism,” she said. In the actions against the construction of the Autobahn in the Dannenröder Forest in Hesse, for example, she “turned very sharply against violent left-wing extremism”. “Wires were stretched across the forest, at the height of the police officers’ heads.” She is also very concerned with Islamist terrorism. Just a few days ago, the attack on a meeting place for the queer community in Oslo showed how present this is in Europe.