National goal

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A state goal , also called state goal determination or state purpose , is understood to be the definition of a goal that a state seeks to achieve. The national goals are laid down in the respective constitution , but require concrete implementation through law , ordinance or statutes (see also hierarchy of norms ). Since state goals place tasks on the state, but do not regulate how these goals are actually to be achieved, the legislature has a broad prerogative of assessing their implementation.

The state objective provisions differ from basic rights in that they do not justify a subjective right and are therefore not enforceable.

State goals can also differ within a single state, provided that it consists of member states that have independent constitutions; thus the national goals of the individual federal states in Germany differ .

Demarcation state purpose - state objective

The doctrine of the purpose of the state is the older doctrine; it relates to fundamental, over-positive purposes of the state. Today's state objectives, on the other hand, only concern specific tasks of the state.

State tasks were already known in antiquity. Occasionally some state tasks were also mentioned on Roman coins, e.g. B. the security of the grain supply pointed out.


State goals and state structure principles

The state goals set out in the Basic Law (GG) are guaranteed as a basic right in some state constitutions. Regardless of the priority of federal law ( Art. 31 GG), these remain in accordance with Art. 142 GG in force, insofar as they are in accordance with Art. 1 to Art. 18 GG.

In addition to the state goals, there are the (state) structural principles of Article 20 of the Basic Law : Republic (para. 1), principle of democracy (para. 1), principle of the welfare state (para. 1), federal principle (para. 1) and the rule of law (para. 3) . Of these, the welfare state and the rule of law are both recognized as state goals.

Basic Law

Since 1949 five state goals have been included in the Basic Law:

The inclusion of culture and sport has so far remained controversial.

State constitutions

In addition, various state constitutions contain further state objective provisions.


In the Austrian Federal Constitution , permanent neutrality and the prohibition of Nazi activities (since 1955), broadcasting as a public task (since 1974), comprehensive national defense (since 1975), comprehensive environmental protection (since 1984), and equal treatment of the handicapped apply as state objectives (since 1997) and equality between men and women (since 1998). The following updated national targets have also been in effect since 2013. The republic (federal, state and local authority) is responsible for ensuring sustainability, animal welfare, comprehensive environmental protection, ensuring water and food supplies and research.


The purpose of Switzerland as a state is defined in Art. 2 of the revised Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation of April 18, 1999 as follows:

  1. The Swiss Confederation protects the freedom and rights of the people and safeguards the independence and security of the country.
  2. It promotes common welfare, sustainable development, internal cohesion and the country's cultural diversity.
  3. It ensures the greatest possible equality of opportunity among citizens.
  4. It works for the permanent preservation of the natural foundations of life and for a peaceful and just international order.

Some of the constitutions of the 26 cantons have additional national goals. Article 6 of the Constitution of the Canton of Zurich states, for example:

  1. The canton and municipalities ensure that the basis of life is maintained.
  2. Responsible for future generations, they are committed to ecologically, economically and socially sustainable development.


The Constitution of France since the writes French Revolution , the liberty, equality and fraternity before and desirable goals.


The preamble to the constitution of Japan emphasizes world peace as a national goal. Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution prohibits the establishment and maintenance of the military . (However, this is now interpreted to mean that armed forces are allowed for self-defense .)


  • Matthias Knothe: Protection of minorities in the Schleswig-Holstein state constitution - a model case for the Basic Law? In: NordÖR 2000, pp. 139–142.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Ulrich Scheuner , A distinction is sometimes made between state goals that are not a permanent task (such as the earlier reunification requirement in the Basic Law) and ongoing state tasks (such as the promotion of culture or sport in some German state constitutions). State Objectives , in: Ders., State Theory and State Law. Collected writings (edited by Joseph Listl and Wolfgang Rüfner ), Berlin 1978, p. 223 (237).
  2. ^ "State tasks on Roman coins", Hermann Junghans, Geldgeschichtliche Nachrichten, September 2011, pp. 244–249.
  3. How environmental and animal protection came into the Basic Law Website of the German Bundestag 2013, accessed on July 15, 2016
  4. version valid since August 1st, 2009 acc. Article 1 of the law of July 29, 2009 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 2248 )
  5. Version valid until August 1, 2009: Art. 109 GG aF, accessed on July 15, 2016
  6. Culture and sport remain controversial as national goals. Website of the German Bundestag 2012, accessed on July 15, 2016
  7. Franjo Schruiff: Background: The legal institution "national objective" 19 May 2000
  8. RIS - Sustainability, Animal Welfare, Comprehensive Environmental Protection, Ensuring the Water and Food Supply and Research - Consolidated Federal Law, version dated February 18, 2018. Retrieved February 18, 2018 .