Believe that people have to evacuate

civil war in Syria"We never talk about why people are fleeing"

"Syrian refugees will not be stopped by it," said Özdemir about the border controls and in this context also criticized the meeting of EU interior ministers planned for today in Brussels: "We do not need a conference of interior ministers, we need a conference of foreign ministers with the agenda item Syria. If that If this continues, Syria has to be depopulated. " So you have to talk about how to silence the guns. In view of the latest reports of increased intervention by the Russian government in the civil war, Özdemir said that the nuclear deal with Iran has shown Russia to be cooperative, which could be useful for pacification.

According to him, the problem in Syria is also increasingly affecting the EU. "If everyone in Europe now acts on the principle of 'everyone is his own neighbor', we can dissolve the European Union." "The solution cannot be for other countries to look into the air," emphasized Özdemir: "This also applies to our Eastern European neighbors. Nobody should be overwhelmed, but we all have to lend a hand."

The refugees who have already made it to Germany now have to be integrated quickly and well, said Özdemir. "We have to take care of apartments and places in schools and day-care centers - but above all about cultural integration." Germany should not make the same mistakes as with the guest workers. "The little ones have to come to schools so that they know - this is our future, this is where the music plays."

The interview in full length:

Bettina Klein: We'll tie in with the assessment we just heard from Berlin and want to pass it on to a voice from the opposition. We are now connected to Cem Özdemir, one of the two leaders of the Greens. Good Morning.

Cem Ozdemir: Good morning, Ms. Klein!

Small: Mr Özdemir, we heard from you briefly yesterday evening that you consider this to be a completely wrong decision, which has now been made again. Why?

Ozdemir: I do not see any line in the politics of the federal government. First the border is opened, then it is closed again. The refugees are not out of the world, we are shifting the problem to the next country. That means that the Austrians must now close the border towards Hungary, the Hungarians are building a wall towards Serbia. But we won't solve the problem like that, because the people who come from Syria won't let walls stop them. Now there is an EU interior ministers conference. What we would need, however, would be a conference of foreign ministers with the agenda item Syria.

Syria must be on the agenda

Small: What would you have done, Mr Özdemir, if you had been politically responsible? Would you have left the borders open and now would have continued to let tens of thousands of people come into the country, even though they can no longer be taken care of at the moment?

Ozdemir: First of all, I would think about making a reasonably coherent policy and not reinventing it almost every day. But once again: We will not solve the Syria problem by now in Europe de-solidarizing each other. Europe has something to do with solidarity. This applies in the country within the Federal Republic of Germany. It is clear that the city of Munich cannot be left alone. But that also applies within Europe. If everyone now acts according to the principle that I am next to myself, then the European Union can be dissolved right away.

Small: But again the question of operational policy. I understand that: You criticize that there is no line, that you first open boundaries, then close boundaries. You would have made sure from the start that tens of thousands of people couldn't come every day, or how do we understand that?

Ozdemir: I would have put pressure on from the start that there would be a key within the European Union, according to which distribution is made according to the situation in the countries. And again: It might sound like there is no short-term solution, but we currently have a window of opportunity thanks to the nuclear deal with Iran, because the Russians are obviously more constructive on the Ukraine issue cautious than they have done in the past.
The issue of Syria must finally be on the agenda. 20 million people live there, four million of them are now abroad, seven million internally displaced within Syria. If this continues, Syria will have to be depopulated. Then there are significantly more millions. So we have to talk about how the weapons can be silenced in Syria.

Small: That is already clear, Mr Özdemir. I think many will probably agree with you when they hear that.

Ozdemir: But nothing happens! It's no use to me if people agree with me. It must be on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council. Otherwise we will have many more interviews of this kind and talk about refugees. It is absurd that the whole of Germany and the European Union are arguing about where the refugees should go, and nobody is talking about why they are actually fleeing.

It needs solidarity from the EU countries

Small: I think we talk about it every now and then. But we now have a situation, Mr Özdemir, which is happening here in Germany or in Europe, where tens of thousands of people are there. The image of Germany has changed insofar as the solidarity and warmth with which people were welcomed here was welcomed and highly praised worldwide. But does it have to be said now that there is a contradiction between what would be morally and ethically desirable and what is practically possible? I would like to have another answer from you without going back to Syria.

Ozdemir: I think everyone who has now received a different picture of Germany, namely a friendly picture of Germany from the many people who showed through their willingness to help where the majority of Germany is, understand why the same Germans say but the others have to lend a hand too, of course. The solution cannot be for other countries to look into the air when it comes to the distribution of refugees. It is therefore clear that within Europe we also need the solidarity of others. This also applies to our Eastern European neighbors within the scope of their possibilities. Nobody should be overwhelmed. We all have to lend a hand.

Small: Are you also concerned, Mr Özdemir, that this friendliness could tip over in the majority of the population if a solution is not soon found here on European soil as well?

Ozdemir: It has to be our job as politicians to think about tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. The same people who are now doing great things in the train stations, and above all the full-time employees who should not be forgotten, from the fire brigade, the THW, the Red Cross, will at some point reach their limits. So our job now has to be to deal with it, what about school enrollment, what about daycare centers, what about apartments in the cities, but above all what about cultural integration. Because we mustn't repeat the mistakes we made during guest workers' time. These people have to be properly integrated from the start.

"Here is your future, this is where the music plays"

Small: And, as you have already said, that could of course become a problem with the many who are coming at the same time. What do you think is the biggest problem?

Ozdemir: Well, with the guest worker migration you had a planning horizon of a few years and everything still didn't work out because we didn't have a lot of experience in integrating people. Here it goes - you know the numbers. When 12,000 people are standing at the train station in Munich at once, it is of course a matter of linguistic integration, with orientation courses. Nevertheless, one has to assume that people who come from Syria, come from Eritrea, will not be able to go back so quickly because it is to be feared that the situation in the countries will not change so quickly. For these people we have to ensure that the little ones in particular come to our schools as quickly as possible so that they grow up with the awareness right from the start that this is their future, this is where the music plays.

Small: In an interview with Deutschlandfunk this morning, Cem Özdemir, one of the two leaders of the Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen party. Thank you for your assessment this morning.

Ozdemir: With pleasure! Nice day.

Statements by our interlocutors reflect their own views. Deutschlandfunk does not adopt statements made by its interlocutors in interviews and discussions as its own.