Ask any German if the fundamental law of the state is often amended. He will answer: no. And it will be wrong. Ask another question: do the amendments improve the Basic Law? He will answer again: no. And this is perhaps true.
For 70 years of the Basic Law of Germany, contrary to the prevailing opinion, a lot of changes have been made to it. Another thing is that the changes are mostly unprincipled, and therefore go unnoticed.
The first twenty articles of the Basic Law determine the rights of citizens. These are guarantees of freedom and equality for everyone. For example, the right to protection of human dignity, to human freedom, to life, to physical and ideological integrity, to freedom of expression and self-determination, to refuse military service, to protection from discrimination, to freely receive information, to the inviolability of the private sphere and much more . Up to the state guarantee to ensure the existence of not lower than the subsistence level that meets human dignity, and regardless of any conditions (whether you work or not, healthy or sick, single or single-family).
This part of the Basic Law is unchanged. And since not a single comma can be touched (and not affected!), German citizens still have a strong feeling that they always go to bed and wake up in the same state. In a state that safeguards their human rights and personal interests to the extent that they are affirmed by fundamental rights.
Other provisions of the Basic Law are not protected from amendments and changes. But, according to the well-known jurist Heinrich Wolf, the wording mainly changes, and not the essence of constitutional articles. The purpose of the changes is to rid them of archaic sound, to give a more modern and readable, comprehensive form.
In this case, even the main part is slightly modernized - in additional positions. And not only stylistically. Thus, article 20, which determines the state structure of the Federal Republic of Germany (free democratic federal and social state) in thunderstorm in 1968, was supplemented by a provision on the common civil right to resist attempts to change the state system if other means of protecting the Constitution are inactive. The state protects its system. But if he does not have enough strength (this, however, never happened), then the people have the right to defend themselves. No other reason for resistance is permitted.
Examples of stylistic amendments, of course, are much more. So, in addition to article 20 (article 20a) to the main goals of the state, protection in the interests of future generations of basic natural living conditions was recorded in 1994. The legislator, however, was dissatisfied with the wording: it meant protecting the environment, and “looked” like protecting the living conditions of human generations. Therefore, in 2002 animals were also added to the objects of state protection.
And here, as they say, you need to see the difference. Section 20 of the Basic Law is unchanged, and section 20a is subject to change.
Perhaps the most extensive change was introduced in article 23 in 1992. It concerns the integration of the Federal Republic of Germany into the European Union. In volume it is more than the first six articles of the Basic Law. It is clear that joining the integration community (as well as getting out of it) is not an easy task.
For the adoption of an amendment or amendment, a minimum of two-thirds of the votes in the Bundestag and two-thirds in the representation of the land - the Bundesrat are required. It looks like a “simple procedure." But in fact, to carry out any, even a minor change is very difficult. Until now, this has not been possible for any individuals, even the most influential - only for parties and party coalitions.