Laughs:First of all: It was a very long and very well considered decision and it was anything but overnight. There were countless conversations with family and friends, many from the Party, that motivated me to do so. I’ve been in state politics for 14 years, in various positions. So I’ve gained enough experience to go one step further now. In my subject area, we have just achieved a lot in North Rhine-Westphalia since 2017, but we are also reaching our limits because a lot of migration and asylum is a federal issue. For example, many entrepreneurs still write to me who have hired a refugee, who has also proven itself and is now to be deported. At the same time we are desperately looking for skilled workers. Nobody can understand that anymore. But I am also interested in topics such as foreign and development policy, which mainly take place at the federal level.
You compete against Karl Lauterbach – he has always won the constituency in the end….
Yes and I plan to change that.
Do you expect a safe place on the list?
First of all, it’s about our members nominating me as their Bundestag candidate. I am incredibly pleased that I am already receiving a great deal of encouragement for my candidacy from so many CDU members – and beyond. So I am confident that it will work out and then I have the right to move the constituency directly.
What role do Armin Laschet’s national political ambitions play in your decision?
Of course I will fight for the next Federal Chancellor of the Republic to be Armin Laschet. But as already said, it was a very lengthy decision-making process and not a spontaneous idea that I only came up with after January 16, that is, after Mr. Laschet became Federal Chairman of the CDU. I made this decision above all after many discussions with party friends from Cologne and Leverkusen. Our aim is for these two great cities to be represented in all their diversity in the Bundestag.
The SPD in the state parliament wants to naturalize guest workers from the first generation. What do you make of it?
In 2017, as a federal board member of the CDU, I took part in the coalition negotiations with the SPD in the federal government and introduced the idea of a generational cut, which was rejected by the SPD. They didn’t want to open the barrel of citizenship again. I still think that’s wrong. We currently have the model that every child who is born in Germany receives not only the German but also the foreign citizenship of the parents. In this way, multiple nationality is passed on over generations, while denying it to parents. I am for the opposite model, which is called the generation cut. This means that we are showing our appreciation and appreciation, especially for the older generation, and that we are demanding a clear commitment to our country from the younger generation, because we are a great country!
Why did it fail?
As in 2013, the SPD did not want that. That is why I cannot take this request from the SPD parliamentary group in NRW seriously. It is the usual game: before an election there is again window dressing for migrants. If the SPD wants to change something here, it should do so as a member of the federal government. This is the place where such a proposal belongs, not the state parliament.
Does the federal government need its own ministry for integration?
If it’s not just a mere alibi ministry, yes. This means that it should already be equipped with competencies that are currently mainly in the Ministry of the Interior. Just like we did here in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2017 by bringing asylum and immigration law matters to the Ministry of Integration.
You had brought up the headscarf ban for under 14-year-olds. Do you still believe in the implementation?
Personally, I still believe that a young girl’s head shouldn’t be covered. What she then decides as a young woman is completely up to her. But this decision should be made consciously and not under pressure. However, I see the constitutional difficulties more clearly today than when I started the debate.
Every fifth migrant child does not speak German at home – do they have to be required to attend daycare?
This statement is too short. I didn’t speak any German at home either, and for that I am grateful to my parents today, because I was able to learn Turkish at least that way – and I think that as a Germanist, my German is not that bad either. Multilingualism is not a shortcoming, it is an asset. But unfortunately we make too big differences in the languages: If every fifth child only spoke English at home, we would not have this debate, which also focuses exclusively on migrants. But there are also German families in which the upbringing of the child is mainly done on the iPad or Netflix and the children are hardly spoken to. Overall, we have to think more about how we can better support children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds in their educational path.
Do you fear that children with a migration background will be more disadvantaged than their German classmates through distance learning?
The same applies here: The problem is not the history of migration, but rather the social background. At the moment, a lot of families, including those with an educational affinity, are very overwhelmed with this situation. It is true that many migrant families tend to live in socially weaker circumstances, which is why they are perhaps more affected by the current situation – this also applies to the education sector. I very much hope that, as soon as the situation permits, we can quickly switch back to face-to-face teaching, otherwise we will have a lot of irreparable damage.
You could become the only CDU member of the Bundestag with a Turkish migration background. Why do so few migrants find their way to the CDU?
At least I know that there are also interested parties with a migration history in other CDU regional associations, such as Berlin. When I joined the CDU in 2009, we were few. We are getting more and more and the more representative the diversity of our country is in our ranks, the more we attract others. That is very crucial for the future of a people’s party.
According to the constitution, a successor to Laschet must be elected from among the ranks of the state parliament. This means that potential female applicants are probably out of the running. What do you think?
I respect the constitution, but I find it regrettable that there are currently no female applicants.
Have you abandoned the idea of becoming mayor of Cologne?
I’m only 40 – so young enough to postpone this idea a long way.
Source: Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger – Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger by www.ksta.de.
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