Maaßen has to go after all

The German president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hans-Georg Maaßen, is being sent into retirement after all. The decision was prompted by a farewell speech he gave in which he accused the SPD of hard-left tendencies and defended his controversial statements about the far-right riots in Chemnitz. A number of commentators speak out against the criticism of Maaßen. Others see him as a threat to democracy.

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

He did much for Germany's security

Maaßen is being treated unfairly, in the view of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung:

“The man who for a large part of the media represents a danger to democracy has in reality done more for the security of the country than anyone else. The question remains as to what Maaßen will do now. At 55 he is too young for retirement. He could imagine a life outside public service, as he says in his speech, for example in politics. But who would he be working for? The CDU, which he has been a member of for decades, will hardly be able to offer him an attractive position. ... Every potential coalition partner would take to the barricades against him, including the FDP. So that leaves the AfD. Maaßen would be manna from heaven for them. But it would be a death sentence for him.”

Zeit Online (DE) /

The man could become a threat

Only the AfD will be happy about this farcical affair, comments Zeit Online.

“The right have found a martyr in Maaßen, a supposedly decent man who stands up for his convictions. And this is where things get dangerous. Because security results from trust in facts and institutions. Maaßen has shown that he doesn't care too much about either of these. He enjoys considerable authority among the right. If he wants to, he can do a great deal of damage to the state and democracy in strategic areas. Because if someone like Maaßen casts doubt on facts or talks about left-wing radicals in the SPD, it carries a lot more weight than when backbenchers in the AfD do the same.”