Preparations for G7: Four square kilometers of summit fortress

Status: 06/24/2022 2:36 p.m

Meter-high fences, landing pads for helicopters and a mobile justice center: Chancellor Scholz invites you to the G7 summit in the luxury hotel Schloss Elmau. The safety precautions are enormous. Is it worth the effort?

Before the G7 meeting at Schloss Elmau, eight police buses in Munich were probably partially destroyed by arson. Because of this attack, Bavaria’s Interior Minister Herrmann sees the need for expensive security measures as confirmed, especially since he does not rule out further attacks.

At the last G7 summit at Schloss Elmau, the costs amounted to around 130 million euros, according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Budget funds of 180 million euros were estimated for this year’s security concept, which the federal government as the organizer must bear.

During the summit, there is a vacation ban for the police. Around 18,000 police officers from all over Germany are deployed between Munich Airport and Schloss Elmau. Since June 14, checks have been carried out at the border crossings from Austria to Bavaria to prevent violent demonstrators from entering the country. The airspace in the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen is monitored with police helicopters.

Mobile justice center with prosecutors and judges

Thousands of demonstrators are expected in Munich and Garmisch-Partenkirchen to protest against the summit, the climate crisis or the Ukraine war. In order to be able to react quickly to riots, a mobile justice center was set up. At the Olympic Ski Stadium in Garmisch-Partenkirchen there are around 260 containers used by the judiciary and the police. About 25 prosecutors and up to seven judges will be present around the clock, according to the Justice Department. 50 of the containers are available as detention cells for suspected criminals. Up to 150 people can be accommodated there.

The police cordoned off the conference venue since last Sunday. Around the castle there is a meter-high, 16-kilometer-long barrier made of chain link fence or avalanche protection barriers. The fence elements were flown into the impassable terrain by helicopter. There is now a security zone covering an area of ​​four square kilometers around the hotel.

From the trail parking lot to the landing site

The air force of the Federal Police in Oberschleißheim flies state guests with transport helicopters from Munich Airport to the conference hotel from Sunday onwards. It is set down on a former hiking car park, which has been enlarged, tarred and converted into five helipads.

If the guests don’t fly in: tens of thousands of manhole covers were sealed along the “protocol route” of the heads of government to and from the conference venue in Elmau in order to protect the vehicles from attacks from Munich Airport to Elmau.

Helicopters are to bring the state guests to Elmau.

Image: REUTERS

Restrictions for locals

Police checks are to be expected at all times in the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Anyone who lives on the B2 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen or Krün has been informed about what needs to be removed in front of the house. If participants arrive, roads will be closed. In addition, for three days during the summit, schoolchildren will not have face-to-face classes, but distance classes in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen district.

On the night of Friday, four tunnels on the Mittlerer Ring in Munich were closed at different times. From Thursday to Tuesday there are new no-parking zones in the city area – for example for registered meetings or trips by summit participants.

Summit brings money to the region, but also losses

After the G7 summit in 2015, pictures of then US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel boosted local tourism. Hoteliers and landlords are also reporting very good booking figures for the current peak period. Police, delegations and the press have reserved. However, many “classic” holiday guests canceled, business people – like restaurateurs – expect losses. On the other hand, there are friends with the operator of the Eckbauerbahn: the police have rented the mountain railway for ten days.

The market town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen generates income by renting out public spaces. Among other things, the “prime pieces” of the place – the congress center, ice stadium and Olympic ski stadium – were rented out to the police. The tenant of the Hausbergbahn car park is the Federal Press Office.

Does proximity lead to success?

A low-cost G7 summit via video conference or in the Chancellery would be possible. After the pandemic years, however, it is important to meet in person and to talk to each other in a familiar atmosphere at Schloss Elmau, said the spokesman for the federal government, Steffen Hebestreit.

The results will show whether the effort was worth it – on the Ukraine war, pandemic measures, refugee, economic and climate crises. If there are concrete resolutions or contracts instead of declarations of intent, then the meeting in Upper Bavaria was more up-to-date than ever.

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