The EU interior ministers have agreed on a comprehensive reform of European asylum policy – and thus on a much tougher treatment of migrants with no prospects of staying (you can read about the measures decided here). The Greens are now threatened with a major conflict: the party leadership is at odds, the party base is in turmoil. Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who was in Colombia at the time of the agreement, changed her program without further ado in order to reassure her party (stern reported). Anton Hofreiter does not want to be calmed down. He wants to prevent the plans from being implemented.

Mr. Hofreiter, how do you assess the asylum compromise that the EU interior ministers agreed on yesterday in Luxembourg? Anton Hofreiter: I think the regulations to tighten asylum law are wrong on several levels. The compromise is more than questionable for humanitarian reasons. It is also highly problematic geostrategically. Many countries accuse Europe of double standards, and the accusation is now gaining substance. And thirdly: The compromise will not solve the problems from the point of view of those who support tightening. People smugglers will benefit from this, for people fleeing will only be more dangerous.

The Greens had two clear demands: there should only be asylum procedures at the EU’s external borders if a binding EU allocation key was agreed. And above all: if children and families are exempt from this. Apparently, the Interior Minister was unable to get her way on the second point. What does that mean? The fact that even families with children and minors are now being detained in camps at the external borders is particularly problematic. This shows that Ms. Faeser did not negotiate successfully.

The interior minister says they had to agree to this in order not to jeopardize success after years of negotiations. So did she buckle? In any case, Ms. Faeser has caved in to right-wing populist positions. There is a risk that aggression towards people with a migration background will increase. We experienced this in Germany in the 1990s after the basic right to asylum was tightened under Article 16 of the Basic Law.

The Green Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is currently on a trip to South America, but has written a five-page letter of apology to the party base, in which she ultimately defends the asylum compromise that has been found. So Ms. Baerbock is wrong? I think the tightening of asylum law is a mistake. And I expect that it will not be defended, but that the entire Green Party leadership, including the ministers, will now do everything to ensure that the reform does not come in the form it has and instead we work together on a sensible and humanitarian solution.

Now the complete opposite is the case. The party leadership is divided on this issue: party leader Ricarda Lang against, party leader Omid Nouripour for. Group leader Katharina Dröge on the other hand, parliamentary group leader Britta Haßelmann for it, the cabinet members apparently too. What about the Greens now? This is still partly open. We Greens don’t give a nice picture right now. That’s why I’m formulating the clear demand that everyone in management now make a concerted effort to ensure that this compromise doesn’t come about in this form.

Now there is agreement and rejection on this issue according to the classic old party logic of the Greens: left wing against, Realo wing for. Is that a sign of the return of the fights between the wings, which were thought to have been overcome? I’m not worried. In this case, this is more due to the political focus of the people involved. But regardless of who has positioned themselves and how, I expect everyone to pull themselves together now.

How big are your hopes of being able to change the project in the European Parliament? Majorities there are not necessarily in favor of asylum. There is a chance that we can change a lot for the better there. It is all the more important that the Greens now unite to support the forces in the European Parliament who are trying to do this.

In any case, the excitement among the green base and in the parliamentary group is great. Quite a few have the impression that the Greens in particular have to swallow bucks in this traffic light: armaments exports, 100 billion special assets for the Bundeswehr, longer nuclear lifetimes – and Robert Habeck’s heat transition is currently being chopped up … I don’t think that the Greens had to swallow the most bucks . By the way, we wanted the arms deliveries the most. We have achieved a lot in the field of renewable energies. With the Building Energy Act, the process is really underground, but not yet complete. But this question is about fundamentally dealing with people who want to go to Europe. This treatment must not become even more inhuman.

Do you have the impression that the position in the traffic light is a majority capable position? Ms. Faeser, who is also the SPD’s top candidate in Hesse for the state elections in autumn, apparently has a different view. I expect that a liberal and a social democratic party will also feel bound by the Geneva Refugee Convention.