The Power of Germany’s Political Party Foundations
The state-funded foundations stabilize German politics, move national policy towards academic consensus, and act as a parallel foreign service without a foreign minister.
Germany is the most populous country in Europe, the continent’s largest industrial economy by far, and the fourth or fifth largest economy in the world, as well as a key supplier of machine tools and industrial robots necessary for modern manufacturing.1 Germany’s internal politics and foreign policy are significantly shaped by its publicly-funded political foundations. Each of the six major German political parties has its own affiliated foundation, funded almost entirely by the German government budget in approximate proportion to the number of seats its affiliated party holds in the Bundestag, Germany’s federal parliament. They collectively receive around €600 million per year and employ thousands of people, both in Germany and in hundreds of foreign offices worldwide.