It was hard to overlook the fact that last week’s G7 summit cost a lot of money – whether on site in Elmau or on television. From the point of view of the Bavarian state government, the expenses were necessary, at the same time they are still struggling with the federal government to cover the costs.

188 million euros for a three-day G7 summit. The Free State of Bavaria planned this sum for the summit meeting in Elmau, and the state parliament approved it. Most of it went to security expenses. After all, around 18,000 police officers were deployed under Bavarian leadership.

Tens of thousands of manhole covers have been sealed, 16 kilometers of fence built and a trail parking lot paved to allow large helicopters to land. At the Garmisch ski stadium there were almost 200 containers, in which there were not only detention cells for up to 150 people but also rooms for judges, public prosecutors and defense attorneys.

But the detention cells remained empty, according to the police, at most two arrested people were housed there. In addition, there were two arrest warrants on the sidelines of the summit, only one of which had anything to do with the meeting.

And the demonstrations around the G7 attracted far fewer people than expected. In Munich, 20,000 people were registered for the big demonstration on Saturday before the meeting – in fact, around 5,000 came despite the best weather.

So could the state government have saved on one or the other corner? Wouldn’t a few fewer officers and holding cells have done the trick? At the press conference after the end of the summit, Bavaria’s Minister of the Interior, Joachim Herrmann (CSU), tried to make it clear right from the start that things could have turned out differently.

“Shortly before the start of the G7 summit, there was an arson attack on federal police vehicles here in Munich. That raised fears of even worse incidents.”

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Better to have a few more officials to be on the safe side. “And when they don’t have anything to do, it’s easier to cope with than when we don’t have enough and chaos erupts,” argues the interior minister. All in all, with an operation of this magnitude, it is not initially about costs, but about what is considered necessary in terms of safety.

Exact cost statements for the summit are not yet available – that’s another reason why it’s difficult to evaluate individual measures. The Bavarian Supreme Court of Audit puts it this way: “Due to the lack of current audit findings, a statement is currently not possible.”

The parliamentary group leader and domestic policy spokeswoman for the Greens, Katharina Schulze, emphasized to the German Press Agency (dpa) that future location decisions urgently need to be considered more closely from the perspective of sustainability, citizen-friendliness and also the number of security forces required. “There are places where you can hold a safe and successful summit with less expense and effort.”

Bavaria can do nothing for the location selection, it was up to the organizer – the federal government. That’s why the Free State is expecting financial compensation – but no one can say how high it will be.

“We are still struggling with the federal government for final funding. The previous commitments are still too few,” said Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) on Thursday of the “Augsburger Allgemeine”. When asked by the dpa, the Federal Ministry of Finance only said that no information on ongoing talks could be given.

At the previous G7 summit in Elmau in 2015, however, it was already clear before the meeting that Berlin would transfer a flat rate of 40 million to Bavaria for additional security precautions. At that time, the Free State incurred costs of around 133 million euros. From the point of view of the Greens in the Bavarian state parliament, the fact that the agreement is taking longer this time is also due to exaggerated demands from the state government.

“Seven years ago, it was a matter of course for the CSU that the federal and state governments would finance the G7 summit,” said interior expert Schulze. “Now the CSU is no longer part of the federal government and suddenly the federal government is supposed to assume 100 percent of the costs. It is already very obvious what the CSU is pulling off – “and it is clear that it does not work like that”.

There are two reasons why the federal government will actually assume the 100 percent of Bavarian expenditure that Interior Minister Herrmann hoped for: First, the federal government assumed less than a third of Bavaria’s expenditure in 2015, and second, the federal budget for the G7 summit only contains a total of 80 million euros intended.

Bavaria will probably have to bear part of the costs – probably also a reason why there is at least a broad consensus in the Free State: two summits are enough – next time please somewhere else.