Group leader Christian Dürr: What exactly does the FDP leadership actually intend to do?
Michael Kappeler / dpa
Christian Dürr is the leader of the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag and gave an interview to Germany's largest tabloid this week.
In this interview, he formulated a "suggestion" that is so outlandish and cynical that it takes your breath away.
It seems unlikely that the parliamentary group leader would launch such a test balloon without having agreed this with the rest of the party leadership.
Which raises the question: What exactly does the FDP leadership actually intend to do?
But first of all what Dürr suggested: an exchange, people for climate protection.
Specifically, Dürr said: "In order to put pressure on the countries of origin, we could, for example, link redemptions to money for climate protection.
Those who take back their compatriots receive support in return, for example in the production of climate-neutral fuels for cars in Germany.«
These two sentences have it all, in many respects.
What Dürr really means
Dürr would like to "put pressure on the countries of origin" and "couple money for climate protection".
The reference to »climate-neutral fuels« shows what kind of countries he has in mind.
Many of the countries that have a reputation for not taking back rejected asylum seekers or only reluctantly are on the African continent, and of course Dürr is referring to them.
Translated into honest German, Dürr's suggestion is: You've got the sun down there, if you take your people back, we'll give you money so you can use it to make fuel for our cars.
This is absurd and outlandish in five respects.
That's quite an achievement for two sentences.
First, the notion of using people as pawns for financial aid in an entirely different context is recognizably - and apparently intentionally - cynical, to put it politely.
Secondly, it is not primarily in the interest of African states that climate protection is pursued there, but in our own.
Fortunately, Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa, is currently a region with very low per capita emissions of CO₂.
It has to stay that way if we don't want to further fuel the climate crisis.
We must do as much as possible for it, and without blackmail attempts - because it will benefit us first and foremost.
Thirdly, many countries of origin of asylum seekers are already suffering from the massive consequences of global warming - and Germany is largely to blame for this.
As a reminder, we rank fourth globally in terms of historically accumulated CO₂ emissions.
Dürr's "suggestion" sounds like this for African states: We are largely responsible for the fact that your countries are slowly becoming uninhabitable.
But if you want help avoiding our mistakes, feel free to do so.
Fourth, it would be the opposite of "climate protection" to ask African countries to produce "CO₂-neutral fuels" first.
With the exception of South Africa, there are currently virtually no coal-fired power plants on the African continent.
It has to stay that way.
At the same time, according to the International Energy Agency, 600 million people on the continent still have no access to electricity.
So if renewable energies are expanded there, which is really badly needed, then they will first and foremost be needed to supply their own population with energy.
Not for fueling the sports cars and SUVs of FDP voters with "CO₂-neutral fuels".
Fifth: "CO₂-neutral fuels" for passenger cars are an illusion, and not just because there is no significant capacity to produce them anywhere.
Not even the Porsche and VW boss Oliver Blume believes in Christian Lindner's dreams of a future with nothing but CO₂-neutral combustion engines.
Porsche is involved in an e-fuel project in Chile - so that old 911s can still be driven in 20 years.
A market for "CO₂-neutral fuels" for new cars, on the other hand, is an obsession of the FDP, which the market has long since said goodbye to.
If these fuels are one day available in reasonably sufficient quantities and at competitive prices, they will be urgently needed elsewhere: in shipping and air traffic, possibly for heavy trucks.
Dürr's "proposal" is not only characterized by abysmal cynicism, it is also politically nonsensical in every respect.
And it is in clear contradiction to the interests of Germany.
Interestingly, Dürr did not like another suggestion, namely that of linking deportations to the countries concerned being able to obtain visas for other, desirable immigrants.
"I don't think much of that," said Dürr, "we need immigration." He's right, we urgently need it - but we need a rapid expansion of renewable energies on the African continent at least as urgently, it's in our very own, existential interest , not »nice to have«.
That's not how you take votes from the AfD, that's for sure.
The FDP has been hovering between six and seven percent in polls for many months, which may have a lot to do with its constant refusal.
The party has lost almost half its approval since the federal elections, in which it received 11.5 percent.
It will definitely not be enough for black and yellow in the foreseeable future.
Both Christian Dürr and Christian Lindner know that, as does CDU party leader Friedrich “Kleine Paschas” Merz and CDU Secretary General Mario “Deutschobligation” Czaja.
Both party leaders currently seem to see only one answer to this dilemma: together they are courting the electoral potential of the AfD, which is 12 to 14 percent, almost a third of them "manifest right-wing extremists".
Dürr's proposal fits this pattern: it breathes the spirit of colonialism and contains a strong dose of misanthropy towards a very specific group.
We are the experiment
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Therefore, it should be remembered here once again: The strategy of taking votes from a right-wing extremist to right-wing extremist party by approaching their positions and their diction demonstrably does not work.
This is not an assertion; it can be empirically proven.
That must slowly arrive in the minds of German party officials.
What works, however, is to use this method to shift public discourse in a country in exactly the direction that the far right wants.
Greetings from Marine le Pen and Giorgia Meloni.
Anyone who wants to take votes from the AfD must offer alternatives, not a light version of their positions.