Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has rejected calls to comprehensively expand the list of so-called safe countries of origin in order to make deportations there easier. “I think it is a daring approach to approach foreign policy with a lawnmower for domestic political reasons,” the Green politician told the newspapers of the Funke media group and the French newspaper “Ouest-France”.

“That’s why I’ve always advocated moving away from the construct of safe countries of origin, which blatantly labels countries with human rights,” said Baerbock. However, the Foreign Minister defended the cabinet’s decision to include Georgia and Moldova in the list of such countries. The two states are on the way to the EU and are implementing extensive reforms in the rule of law, democracy and human rights, she said.

At the weekend, CDU leader Friedrich Merz pushed for more countries to be declared safe countries of origin. He pointed out that refugees from countries such as Moldova, Georgia, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and India only had low recognition rates. “These countries must be recognized as safe countries of origin so that we can return people there immediately,” Merz also told the newspapers of the Funke media group.

Baerbock replied: “Obviously the latest developments in Tunisia – including the arrest of prominent opposition figures and the erosion of the current constitution – passed him by in the Bavarian election campaign.”