Federation and States
Article 20 Basic Principles of State, Resistance
(1) The Federal Republic of Germany is a democratic and social federal state.
(2) All state authority emanates from the people. It is being exercised by the people through elections and voting and by specific organs of the legislature, the executive power, and the judiciary.
(3) Legislation is subject to the constitutional order; the executive and the judiciary are bound by law and justice.
(4) All Germans have the right to resist any person seeking to abolish this constitutional order, should no other remedy be possible.
Article 20 A Protection of Natural Resources
The state, also in its responsibility for future generations protects the natural foundations of life and the animals in the framework of the constitutional order, by legislation and, according to law and justice, by executive and judiciary.
Article 21 Political Parties
(1) The political parties participate in the forming of the political will of the people. They may be freely established. Their internal organization must conform to democratic principles. They have to publicly account for the sources and use of their funds and for their assets.
(2) Parties which, by reason of their aims or the behavior of their adherents, seek to impair or abolish the free democratic basic order or to endanger the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany are unconstitutional. The Federal Constitutional Court decides on the question of unconstitutionality.
(3) Details are regulated by federal statutes.
Article 22 Capital, Federal Flag
(1) The capital of the Federal Republic of Germany is Berlin. The representation of the whole state in the capital is a task of the federation. Details are regulated by federal statute.
(2) The federal flag is black, red, and gold.
Article 23 European Union
(1) To realize a unified Europe, Germany participates in the development of the European Union which is bound to democratic, rule of law, social, and federal principles as well as the principle of subsidiarity and provides a protection of fundamental rights essentially equivalent to that of this Constitution. The federation can, for this purpose and with the consent of the Senate [Bundesrat], delegate sovereign powers. Article 79 II & III is applicable for the foundation of the European Union as well as for changes in its contractual bases and comparable regulations by which the content of this Constitution is changed or amended or by which such changes or amendments are authorized.
(1a) The House of Representatives [Bundestag] and the Senate [Bundesrat] have the right to challenge violations of the principle of subsidiarity by legislative acts of the European Union before the Court of the European Union. The House of Representatives [Bundestag] is dutybound to do so upon the motion of one quarter of its members. By statute requiring the consent of the Senate [Bundesrat], regarding the exercise of rights of the House of Representatives [Bundestag] and the Senate [Bundesrat] under the contractual bases of the European Union, exceptions may be authorized to Article 42 II 1 and Article 52 III 1.
(2) The House of Representatives [Bundestag] and the States [Länder], by their representation in the Senate [Bundesrat], participate in matters of the European Union. The Government has to thoroughly inform House of Representatives [Bundestag] and Senate [Bundesrat] at the earliest possible time.
(3) The Government allows for statements of the House of Representatives [Bundestag] before it takes part in drafting European Union laws. The Government considers statements of the House of Representatives [Bundestag] during deliberations. Detail are regulated by federal statute.
(4) The Senate [Bundesrat] has to be included in the deliberations of the House of Representatives [Bundestag] insofar as it would have to participate in a domestic measure or insofar as the States [Länder] would be accountable domestically.
(5) Insofar as, in the area of exclusive legislative competence of the Federation, the interests of the States [Länder] are affected or insofar as, in all other cases, the Federation has legislative competence, the Government considers the statement of the Senate [Bundesrat]. If legislative competencies of the States [Länder], the installation of their agencies, or their procedures are centrally affected, the opinion of the Senate [Bundesrat] has to be considered as decisive for the Federation's deliberation; the responsibility of the Federation for the whole state has to be maintained in the process. The consent of the Government is necessary in matters possibly resulting in higher expenses or lower revenues for the Federation.
(6) Where exclusive legislative competencies of the States [Länder] are centrally affected in the areas of school education, culture, or broadcasting, the exercise of the Federal Republic of Germany's rights as member state of the European Union is delegated to a representative of the States [Länder] assigned by the Senate [Bundesrat]. These rights are exercised with participation of and in coordination with the Government; the responsibility of the Federation for the whole state has to be maintained in the process.
(7) Details of Paragraphs IV to VI are regulated by a statute requiring the consent of the Senate [Bundesrat].
Article 24 [Collective Security System]
(1) The Federation may by legislation transfer sovereign powers to intergovernmental institutions.
(1a) Insofar as the States [Länder] are responsible for the exercise of state rights and the discharge of state duties, they can, with consent of the Government, delegate sovereign powers to institutions for neighborhood at state borders.
(2) For the maintenance of peace, the Federation may join a system of mutual collective security; in doing so it will consent to such limitations upon its rights of sovereignty as will bring about and secure a peaceful and lasting order in Europe and among the nations of the world.
(3) For the settlement of disputes between States [Länder], the Federation will accede to agreements concerning international arbitration of a general, comprehensive, and obligatory nature.
Article 25 Public International Law
The general rules of public international law constitute an integral part of federal law. They take precedence over statutes and directly create rights and duties for the inhabitants of the federal territory.
Article 26 Ban on War
(1) Acts with the potential to and undertaken with intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations, especially to prepare war or aggression, are unconstitutional. They have to be made a criminal offence.
(2) Weapons designed for warfare may not be manufactured, transported, or marketed except with the permission of the Government. Details are regulated by a federal statute.
Article 27 Merchant Fleet
All German merchant vessels form one merchant fleet.
Article 28 Self-Government
(1) The constitutional order in the States [Länder] must conform to the principles of the republican, democratic, and social state under the rule of law, within the meaning of this Constitution. In each of the States [Länder], counties, and communes, the people has to be represented by a body chosen in general, direct, free, equal, and secret elections. During elections in counties and communes, persons who possess the citizenship of a European Community country are eligible to vote and being elected according to the laws of the European Community. In communes, the communal assembly can take the place of an elected body.
(2) The communes must be guaranteed the right to regulate, on their own responsibility, all the affairs of the local community within the limits set by statute. Within the framework of their statutory functions, the associations of communes have such right to self-government as may be provided by statute. The right to self-government also encompasses the foundations of financial accountability; part of this foundation is the communes' right to raise their tax shares according to local economic performance.
(3) The Federation ensures that the constitutional order of the States [Länder] conforms to the basic rights and to the provisions of Paragraphs I & II.
Article 29 States Boundaries
(1) A new delimitation of federal territory may be made to ensure that the States [Länder] by their size and capacity are able effectively to fulfill their functions. Due regard has to be given to regional, historical, and cultural ties, economic expediency, and the requirements of regional policy and planning.
(2) Measures for a new delimitation of federal territory are effected by federal statutes requiring confirmation by referendum. The States [Länder] thus affected have to be consulted.
(3) A referendum is held in the States [Länder] from whose territories or partial territories a new State [Land] or a State with redefined boundaries is to be formed (affected States). The referendum is held on the question whether the affected States [Länder] are to remain within their existing boundaries or whether the new State [Land] or State with redefined boundaries should be formed. The referendum is deemed to be in favor of the formation of a new State [Land] or of a State [Land] with redefined boundaries where approval is given to the change by a majority in the future territory of such State [Land] and by a majority in all the territories or partial territories of an affected State [Land] whose assignment to a State [Land] is to be changed in the same sense. The referendum is deemed not to be in favor where in the territory of one of the affected States [Länder] a majority reject the change; such rejection is, however, of no consequence where in one part of the territory whose assignment to the affected State [Land] is to be changed a majority of twothirds approve of the change, unless in the entire territory of the affected State [Land] a majority of twothirds reject the change.
(4) Where in a clearly definable area of interconnected population and economic settlement, the parts of which lie in several States [Länder] and which has a population of at least one million, one tenth of those of its population entitled to vote in House of Representatives [Bundestag] elections petition by popular initiative for the assignment of that area to one State [Land], provision is made within two years in a federal statute determining whether the delimitation of the affected States [Länder] is changed pursuant to Paragraph II or determining that a plebiscite is held in the affected States [Länder].
(5) The plebiscite establishes whether approval is given to a change of States [Länder] delimitation to be proposed in the statute. The statute may put forward different proposals, not exceeding two in number, for the plebiscite. Where approval is given by a majority to a proposed change of States [Länder] delimitation, provision is made within two years in a federal statute determining whether the delimitation of the States [Länder] concerned is changed pursuant to Paragraph II. Where approval is given, in accordance with Paragraph III 3 & 4, to a proposal put forward for the plebiscite, a federal statute providing for the formation of the proposed State [Land] is enacted within two years of the plebiscite and no longer requires confirmation by referendum.
(6) A majority in a referendum or in a plebiscite consists of a majority of the votes cast, provided that they amount to at least one quarter of the population entitled to vote in House of Representatives [Bundestag] elections. Other detailed provisions concerning referendums, popular petitions, and plebiscites is made in a federal statute; such statute may also provide that popular petitions may not be repeated within a period of five years.
(7) Other changes concerning the territory of the States [Länder] may be effected by state agreements between the States [Länder] concerned or by a federal statute with the approval of the Senate [Bundesrat] where the territory which is to be the subject of a new delimitation does not have more than 50,000 inhabitants. Detailed provision are made in a federal statute requiring the approval of the Senate [Bundesrat] and the majority of the members of the House of Representatives [Bundestag]. It makes provision for the affected communes and districts to be consulted.
(8) The States [Länder] can change the delimitation of their territory or parts thereof deviating from the provisions in Paragraphs II to VII by state contract. Affected communes and counties have to be consulted. The state contract needs to be confirmed by public referendum in each participating State [Land]. If a state contract affects only parts of the territory of a State [Land], the public referendum can be limited to these parts; Sentence 5 Half-Sentence 2 is not applicable. The public referendum requires a majority of votes cast if such majority contains at least one fourth of the votes of all persons eligible for elections of the House of Representatives [Bundestag]; details are regulated by a federal statute. The state contract requires the consent of the House of Representatives [Bundestag].
Article 30 Governmental Powers
Except as otherwise provided or permitted by this Constitution, the exercise of governmental powers and the discharge of governmental functions is incumbent on the States [Länder].
Article 31 Precedence of Federal Law
Federal law takes precedence over State [Land] law.
Article 32 Foreign Relations
(1) Relations with foreign countries are a responsibility of the Federation.
(2) Before the conclusion of a treaty affecting the special circumstances of a State [Land], that State [Land] has to be consulted in time.
(3) Insofar as the States [Länder] have power to legislate, they may, with the consent of the Government conclude treaties with foreign countries.
Article 33 Equality of Status and Office
(1) Every German has in every State [Land] the same political rights and duties.
(2) Every German is equally eligible for any public office according to his aptitude, qualifications, and professional achievements.
(3) Enjoyment of civil and political rights, eligibility for public office, and rights acquired in the public service are independent of religious denomination. No one may suffer any disadvantage by reason of his adherence or nonadherence to a denomination or to a philosophical persuasion.
(4) The exercise of state authority as a permanent function is, as a rule, entrusted to members of the public service whose status, service and loyalty are governed by public law.
(5) The law of the public service is regulated and developed with due regard to the traditional principles of the professional civil service.
Article 34 [Liability of Officers and State]
Where any person, in the exercise of a public office entrusted to him, violates his official obligations to a third party, liability rests in principle on the state or the public body which employs him. In the event of wilful intent or gross negligence, the right of recourse against the holder of a public office is reserved. In respect of the claim for compensation or the right of recourse, the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts may not be excluded.
Article 35 Legal, Administrative, Emergency Assistance
(1) All federal and State [Land] authorities render each other legal and administrative assistance.
(2) In order to maintain or to restore public security or order, a State [Land] may, in cases of particular importance, call upon forces and facilities of the Federal Border Guard to assist its police where without this assistance the police could not, or only with considerable difficulty, fulfil a task. In order to deal with a natural disaster or an especially grave accident, a State [Land] may request the assistance of the police forces of other States [Länder] or of forces and facilities of other administrative authorities or of the Federal Border Guard or the Armed Forces.
(3) Where the natural disaster or the accident endangers a region larger than a State [Land], the Government may, insofar as this is necessary to effectively deal with such danger, instruct the State [Land] governments to place their police forces at the disposal of other States [Länder], and may use units of the Federal Border Guard or the Armed Forces to support the police forces. Measures taken by the Government pursuant to the first sentence of this paragraph have to be revoked at any time at the demand of the Senate [Bundesrat], and otherwise immediately upon removal of the danger.
Article 36 Federal Civil Servants
(1) Civil servants employed in the highest federal authorities are drawn from all States [Länder] in appropriate proportion. Persons employed in other federal authorities should, as a rule, be drawn from the State [Land] in which they serve.
(2) Military laws also have to take into account the division of the Federation into States [Länder] and the regional ties of their populations.
Article 37 Federal Coercion
(1) Where a State [Land] fails to comply with its obligations of a federal character imposed by this Constitution or another federal statute, the Government may, with the consent of the Senate [Bundesrat], take the necessary measures to enforce such compliance by the State [Land] by way of federal coercion.
(2) For the purpose of exercising federal coercion, the Government or its commissioner has the right to give binding instructions to all States [Länder] and their authorities.