The state premier of Baden-Württemberg wants Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria declared safe countries of origin. Asylum seekers from these countries already are rarely granted permission to remain in Germany.
Winfried Kretschmann, the only Green state premier in Germany, will not be making any friends within his party with his latest statement. In an interview with the "Rheinische Post," he said that his state government would be prepared to support the classification of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria as safe countries of origin, making it easier for Germany to deport rejected asylum seekers who hail from these countries.
'Alarming criminal energy'
Kretschmann then went a step further, explaining his reasoning: "The criminal energy you find among groups of young men from these countries is alarming and must be resolutely fought."
Speaking about his state's record, he added: "Baden-Württemberg has quickly and consistently reacted after each of the terror attacks over the last two years, and increased the size of security forces in the state."
Controversial member of the Greens
Kretschmann has been governing the state in a coalition with the Christian Democrats (CDU) since last year. His refugee and asylum policy is highly controversial within his own Green party. A year and a half ago, when he was part of the green-red coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD), he voted to declare the Balkan states of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro safe countries of origin, unleashing a wave of indignation in his party. His state also participated in the first wave of controversial deportations of rejected Afghan asylum seekers before Christmas - unlike other German states that are co-governed by the Greens.
No hope of asylum
Under Germany's constitution, safe countries of origin are defined as countries where there is no political persecution, and where people are not subjected to "inhumane or degrading punishment and treatment." People from safe countries of origin who apply for asylum in Germany are usually rejected.