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Commentary on the EU asylum reform: Green dilemma, green responsibility


Europe’s asylum compromise is difficult for many Greens to bear. But no agreement would be even worse. Foreign Minister Baerbock understood that.

20,000 euros – that’s how much it will cost in the future in the EU to be allowed to show a lack of solidarity and inhumanity. A country should be able to pay 20,000 euros per refugee so as not to have to take them in. Being able to buy oneself free from the idea of ​​solidarity in an alleged community of values ​​soon becomes solidarity à la EU.

That’s the shame – not the only one to which the traffic light government has now said yes. And by the way, had to say yes, because the failure of a common asylum system would have been an even greater shame for us Europeans.

Annalena Baerbock, the Green Foreign Minister, is much more realistic than probably most Green members at the party base. In this Europe that was moving ever further to the right, Germany still had Luxembourg and Portugal at its side. But being mighty decent has nothing to do with power.

This is bitter for the Greens

Germany’s approval of this pathetic compromise is still better than having nothing, than a rude Hungarian autocrat Viktor Orban, who presents himself as the patron saint of Western Europe and agitates against migrants and refugees. Still better than an end to Schengen and the start of new border fences and barriers in the EU.

Baerbock understood that. For the Greens, this is bitter, but at the same time a tiny reminder of what it means to have power. Welcome to government responsibility. Incidentally, Baerbock takes on this responsibility, as does Robert Habeck. They are now holding out their heads for something that is actually unacceptable for the Greens: the denial of their party DNA, the dwarfing of green asylum policy.

confusing diversity of opinion

The party is literally torn from the bottom to the top. The dual leaders of the parliamentary group and party say yes and no to the compromise at the same time. The parliamentary group co-chair Katharina Dröge somewhat helplessly calls this confusing variety of opinions of the ruling Green Party “politics of honesty”.

It would have been more honest to say, like Baerbock, that being in government means facing such a dilemma. And then also endure the pictures. Families, small children behind barbed wire, locked up in camps – also in the name of the traffic light government.

And on top of that, not having a binding distribution mechanism for refugees among the EU states, but instead having ransom bonuses. Incidentally, even these were apparently unreasonable for Poland and Hungary.

Explain the imposition

All of this is shameful in and of itself. But even worse would have been no compromise at all. Explaining this to a green base, whose soul was already chafed after the grinding of green basic convictions, for example on the subject of nuclear power or arms deliveries, is perhaps the greatest challenge so far for the green foreign minister and the green vice chancellor.

Habeck, who terribly screwed up communication with the heating law, must now convince his own shop why it is still worth bearing responsibility in a traffic light government. He once said that change also means impertinence. Now he has to explain the impertinence called asylum compromise to his people. Chancellor Scholz should wish him luck.

Editorial note

Comments always reflect the opinion of the respective author and not that of the editors.