Foreign Minister Analena Burbock today rejected calls from the opposition to expand the list of “safe countries of origin” of immigrants, which would result in the facilitation of deportations. In Germany, according to the figures of the interior ministry, there are more refugees living today than even in the 1950s.

“I think it’s too bold to approach foreign policy with the … lawnmower, just for domestic policy reasons. I have always supported moving away from the system of safe countries of origin, which characterizes some countries as human rights hotspots,” Minister Analena Burbock said in an interview with the Funke Group newspapers and the French daily Ouest-France.

The weekend Christian Democratic Party (CDU) leader Friedrich Merz has called for Moldova, Georgia, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and India to be included on the lists of safe countries of origin, among others. “Those coming from these countries have very low recognition rates as refugees. So these countries can be declared safe so that we can return people there immediately,” said Mr. Mertz.

Regarding Tunisia in particular, Ms. Burbock stressed that “apparently Mr. Merz, in the middle of an election campaign in Bavaria, has missed the latest developments – including the arrest of prominent opposition figures and the erosion of the Constitution.”

However, in response to a relevant parliamentary question by the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is pointed out that more than 3.26 million refugees live in Germany today. The vast majority have at least a temporary residence permit, while 9% will have to leave the country. A third concerns people from Ukraine. Indicatively, the number of asylum seekers at the end of June was 111,000 more than the previous month. This is the highest number since the 1950s.