Germany must be organized faster and better. An important step in this direction is the cabinet decision on the second sanctions enforcement law: In this way, the state can be better organized than the criminals.

It is often assumed that liberals would have an allergic reaction to a “strong state”. It’s so abbreviated. Rather, it is true that we react very sensitively to bureaucracy and sluggishness. They are the brakes on progress and success. On all levels. The state definitely needs to become leaner here.

But in its core areas, we do want a stronger, more assertive and, above all, faster state than we currently have. This applies to planning and determination procedures, the state apparatus as a whole or the enforcement of law and order. We are currently taking an important step in this direction with the cabinet decision on the second sanctions enforcement law.

The future viability, prosperity and thus the freedom of our country depend on the successful transition to a digital, modern Germany. Only a progressive country is a resilient country. In order not to lose any of our assertiveness, especially in difficult times, we have to become more effective and network all levels better

Katja Hessel sits in the Bundestag for the FDP and has been Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Minister of Finance since 2021

The Sanctions Enforcement Act II, which the federal cabinet passed this week, is the start of a series of comprehensive structural reforms. We make the state more powerful through more digitization and smarter cooperation and enable the strict implementation of sanctions against those who are responsible for or finance the war against Ukraine.

Instead of a large number of competent authorities, data needs to be bundled and controlled from a single source. Different levels must not slow each other down. A jumble of responsibilities not only costs valuable time. Advantage and trust are at stake.

That’s why we have to use our structures more cleverly than shrewd criminals use theirs. We must act faster than the supporters of the war. We need to be more organized than lawbreakers in general.

The second law on the enforcement of sanctions expands the options for clarifying ownership and securing assets. To this end, we are finally digitally linking the relevant sources, starting with the real estate data from the land registers, which are to be included in the transparency register.

We have also decided to set up a real estate transaction database that will give the responsible authorities fully digital access to current changes in ownership.

A new central office for the enforcement of sanctions assigns the responsibilities for identifying and monitoring frozen assets. This position will be part of the division of the Federal Ministry of Finance. This makes sense for one crucial reason: the Sanctions Enforcement Act II supplements the initiative to combat financial crime, because both require very similar investigative powers.

In both cases, it is a matter of actively tracking down assets first. In a subsequent step, we are therefore consolidating central functions in a higher federal authority: investigative work for large and complex cases of financial crime, operational responsibility for enforcing sanctions and analysis of suspicious activity reports.

The law is not optional and not an “add-on”, it is a mandatory program for the ability of a modern constitutional state to act and with the more effective enforcement of sanctions also a contribution to the defense of the European peace order. Our goal is clear: We have to be faster and better organized than the criminals.

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