Mr. Nouripour, when was the last time you were in a refugee accommodation? Three weeks ago.
According to reports, refugees are already sleeping in the employees' office building in the central arrival center in Berlin. There are many municipalities that are at their limit. There is a lack of living space and a lack of staff.
What do reports like this say about the state of German migration policy? We have to be careful not to repeat our mistakes. Capacity is first increased and then reduced again. That took revenge in 2015, and now it's taking revenge again. No blame on the municipalities – it is expensive to maintain structures. That's why we work intensively on solutions that last in the long term.
On the so-called breathing lid? Payments adapted to the situation? Exactly. So that the municipalities don't always have to wait for the federal government to pay. Or that Markus Söder actually passes on the money he received from the federal government to the municipalities. He hasn't done that yet. The state government has so far not passed on more than 40 million euros of the funds in 2022.
Friedrich Merz thinks that Germany is still sending too many pull factors. Which one does he mean?
Comparatively high benefits for asylum seekers or the fact that Ukrainian refugees immediately receive citizenship benefits. I think he ignores the deadly effect of bombs. The Ukrainians, for example, whom he called "social tourists" do not come to us for money, but because they fear for their lives.
But why do so many refugees want to go to Germany? We are the largest country in the EU, the fourth strongest economy in the world, a secure and stable democracy - all facts that we can be proud of. But of course the current burden on many municipalities is real. That's why, in addition to the necessary humanity, we also want the necessary order. This means more control of migration, but also binding distribution in Europe. Countries like Italy have so far blocked this.
So Merz is wrong when he says that Germany is sending too many false incentives? Yes, he is.
So everything is good? Of course not, but that means all the more that we should find solutions that do justice to the durability of the task instead of having side debates. And to clear up another illusory solution: Precisely because the municipalities lack staff, the calls from the opposition to switch to benefits in kind make no sense. Where should the employees who buy, store and distribute hygiene products come from in already burdened communities?
Shouldn't this all have been clarified long ago? The traffic light set a lot in motion: additional funding was decided for the municipalities, the Ministry of the Interior is negotiating migration and repatriation agreements. We also want to ensure that people get into work more quickly. Given the current labor market situation, no one understands why refugees are not allowed to work. By the way, this also reduces the burden on the coffers. And lastly: everyone always calls for a European solution. After ten years, we are finally close to it.
The Greens blocked this European solution for a long time, and the Chancellor had to speak out. Are the Greens only reacting to pressure? We had a breakthrough for a major reform of European asylum policy before the summer…
With great suffering with the Greens … no, with great suffering with 27 different governments. That didn't work for ten years.
Now the Chancellor had to urge you to also agree to the crisis regulation. How do you explain this to your party? We were the ones who pushed. Thanks to this pressure, also from Annalena Baerbock, in Brussels after months of
standstill was seriously negotiated at all. The original crisis regulation was not good for Germany. It is good that a revised proposal is now on the table with important improvements in humanity and orderly conditions. These are our guardrails.
After the nuclear power plant dispute, the Chancellor has now used a word of power to override the Greens for the second time. How much does that hurt? We wanted serious negotiations to take place in Brussels. We have achieved this together. That's good.
By when should the European asylum reform be in place? It would be good if it was in place by the end of the year. The new rules can then be adopted before the European elections.
You are trying to slowly accustom your party to new realities. Is there a need for a new toughness? Rather, a serious examination of our plans. Integration, humanity, control, common European asylum policy, returns: you will find it all in our program. I'm surprised that some people would rather maintain their clichés about the Greens than look at what we really do.
What does Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck mean when he says that the Greens have to face new realities? Realities are currently changing significantly. In such a situation, everyone has to step over their own shadow. Nobody has done this as well in the past two years as Robert Habeck in energy policy.
You could jump to the safe countries of origin. The Greens are opposed to any expansion. Why?The concept is dubious for two reasons. First, it's not a real solution. In the case of Georgia and Moldova, two states on the way to joining the EU, we see that only a few people are affected at all.
Is it then worth the dispute? There is a second thing: In the respective states, something like this is often accepted and used as a seal of quality for their own human rights situation. Algeria, for example, really cannot get such a seal. There are systematic human rights violations.
You'll probably tip at some point. When it came to the dispute over border controls, you were initially against it - and now you're in favor of it.No. Like the police union, we generally believe that rigid, stationary checks make little sense. They don't help much, but people spend a long time in traffic jams at the borders, and companies incur high costs because deliveries are delayed. As far as the Polish-German border is concerned, the situation is new in that the Polish government has so far shown little willingness to resolve the recent visa scandal. We don't know whether there are a hundred or 350,000 visas that were issued illegally. Expanding temporary mobile controls increases the pressure.
Is it even possible to control the problem of irregular migration? You can control it. And you have to. But we shouldn't pretend that there is an instant panacea. What is needed is more humility in the face of the magnitude of the task and less campaign noise.
The Greens are currently being violently attacked. Do you also experience this personally? We are in the center of the action, of course. This is precisely why a certain consensus is needed in the election campaign: Yes, we are fighting, but please on the merits and with decency. When social divides deepen and people are threatened, it is a problem for all democrats, not ours alone. We support other parties if something similar happens to them. This should be the consensus among all Democrats.
From deportation to dentures – Stern has checked the veracity of 15 claims about migration. What everyone should know now can be read here.