Bundestag appreciates Basic Law

Ahead of its 70-year anniversary, politicians in the German parliament stressed the importance of the Basic Law.

Bundestag appreciates Basic Law

Berlin (dpa) - Germany's parliament on Thursday debated whether the country's Basic Law, a post-war constitution that was extended to eastern German states after reunification, is in need of an update.

The debate in the Bundestag was held ahead of the 70-year anniversary of its ratification by West Germany and attended by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife, Elke Buedenbender.

Up for discussion is clarifying the balance of power between states and the federal government, according to Ralph Brinkhaus, head of the Christian Democratic faction in parliament, but he cautioned against moving too aggressively.

"The DNA that made the Basic Law successful must remain in place," Brinkhaus told Germany's lower parliament, the Bundestag.

Andrea Nahles, head of the Social Democrats, referred to the social safety net as a crucial part of the success of the Basic Law. She called for a more determined effort by lawmakers to ensure that elements like gender equality be implemented in German society. 

The Basic Law (Grundgesetz) was ratified by West Germany on May 23, 1949. Germany never actually ratified a constitution (Verfassung) despite planning to after reunification. In the end, they simply extended the West German Basic Law over the states that made up the former East Germany.