Ulrich Oehme from Bundestag for Center for geostrategyc studies
Interview conducted by Dragana Trifkovic
Mr. Oehme, you are a representative of the opposition party Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the Bundestag. This is a party that in recent years has received increasing support from voters in Germany who are dissatisfied with the policy of the authorities. What problems does German society face and what defines it so that it can trust the opposition? On the other hand, what is your main objection to the authorities as an opposition politician?
In Germany, we have been observing violations of the law by the respective federal government for years. These violations began with the bailout of Greece in 2010. The EU treaties of Lisbon stipulated that the community of states was not liable for the debts of member states. The emergency loans to Greece broke the Lisbon Treaties with the help of the German government. But that was not all. With the decision to open the borders for refugees in 2015, Chancellor Angela Merkel violated the current provisions of the Schengen Agreements. As a result of this decision, almost 2 million migrants flocked into our social system in search of one. For the most part there were no refugees like the media of the German population tried to persuade us. This influx was associated with a significant increase in crime. The mood among the population tilted between 2015 from large consent to the rejection of immigration. The AfD was the only party that, since its foundation in 2013, has constantly pointed out existing problems and misguided developments in German society. Since September 2017 I have been part of the AfD Parliamentary Group in the German Bundestag. Here we as opposition can force the governing parties to adopt our positions. We know that in the short term we will not gain majorities for our own legislative changes, but we can always put our fingers in the sore spots.
We are aware that the economic crisis that began in 2008 has had a negative impact on the EU. This crisis has not yet been resolved and until further notice it will not be announced when it will be. Germany is the country with the strongest economy in the EU and is most expected to solve the crisis problems. On the other hand, most of the criticism from other EU member states has been sent to Germany to solve the crisis or introduce unpopular austerity measures. What are your chances of an economic recovery in the EU and will the EU succeed in overcoming economic problems?
The EU's economic problems resulted, among other things, from a faulty construction of the EUR. Personally, I do not believe that the economic and financial crisis, which has been deepening for years, can be resolved. At least not with the current construction of the European Community. We have allowed a good idea to develop into a bureaucratic monstrosity with communist features. If we do not succeed in reforming the EU as the European Community was in 1989, namely a community of nation states, the EU will collapse. We are observing it already in many European states.
The economic crisis in the EU was accompanied by a migration crisis. There have been historical migrations from the Middle East to Europe. The majority of migrants were supposed to come to Germany, and your government has largely approved it. How have such decisions affected Germany and how serious is the problem with migrants in Germany? What concrete problems does German society have with migrants and what measures do you propose in order to solve these problems?
Migrants have flocked to Germany from many regions. From the Middle East, the Maghreb states, Africa, the former CIS states and Afghanistan and Pakistan. The problems are serious. One of the main problems is the lack of education. A large part are illiterate. It will take many years for these migrants to be released from assistance into working life. Crime has also risen sharply as a result of migration. Deportations are difficult to enforce, as you can enter Germany without papers, but you cannot leave without valid papers. One means of exerting pressure on Germany would be to cancel development aid for those states that do not take back their refugees. Immigration pressure could be achieved by changing the asylum system from cash benefits to benefits in kind. If there is no entitlement to social assistance, but only to accommodation, food and medical care, the business model of immigration into our social system will be stripped of its foundations. In addition, our state must finally implement the deportation of 600,000 rejected asylum seekers without delay.
In your opinion, will the Balkan countries become EU members and what is your opinion concerning the EU's blackmail on Serbia?
The EU has stopped the process of accepting new members until 2025. It is uncertain whether it will then be possible to admit new members, taking into account the problems the Union is facing and the views of individual members who believe that the EU needs serious reform and that it cannot admit new members until it has solved its own problems. On the other hand, the Balkan countries are committed to European integration, and now it seems that the United States is exerting great pressure to integrate them into the EU as soon as possible. The main problem is that the European integration of these countries is linked to the interests of the United States (without going into the broader context of US interests in the EU), and that the condition for Serbia's accession is the abolition of 15% of its territory and recognition of Kosovo's illegal separatist unity. No normal country in the world would have cut off its territory, especially for the EU ticket, which is now in such a bad situation.
I do not believe that the EU as we know it today has a future. In more and more countries, currently in Italy for example, dissatisfaction with the EU is growing. The Visegrad states are currently being threatened by the EU with penalties for their refusal to accept refugees, and even with the threat of cancelling subsidies. For these reasons, I do not see the Balkan countries joining in 2025. The secession of Kosovo from Serbia was an arbitrary act that should be corrected.
Not so long ago we were together in Crimea observing the presidential elections. What are your impressions of the Crimea? Did you describe your impressions to your colleagues from Germany and what were their reactions, since this is a territory whose union with Russia has been challenged by many? Did you have problems in Germany because you visited the Crimea and how did the German media report about it? There is much talk about freedom and rights in the EU, but the impression is that there is not much left of them?
The observation of the presidential election in Crimea was an overwhelming event for me. With this election, the people of Crimea indicated a second referendum on remaining in the Russian Federation. I had expected that my visit would at least trigger reactions from the Ukrainian side. That did not happen. However, my colleagues from other parties are asking me about Russia. It is always astonishing that Putin is accused of not being a democrat. A President who received more than 70% support from his people at his last election. Every western president dreams of such an endorsement. If the indicator is dealing with the opposition, then Germany also has a democracy problem.
How do you assess German-Russian relations, especially in view of the sanctions against Russia? Do German companies suffer from these sanctions and are they in your interest? Despite the sanctions, Germany and Russia are implementing the North Stream energy project. Will it contribute to a stronger connection between Germany and Russia and how do you see the prospect of further cooperation? Will the sanctions regime remain in place for a long time or is there a chance that the situation will improve?
I consider the current situation to be extremely critical. We must look at the geopolitical situation in order to assess this situation. Russia's ally, Assad, is still in power in Syria, he even managed to defeat the rebels with Russia's help. The President of the United States has without necessity terminated the nuclear treaty with Iran, another ally of Russia, although even the International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed that Iran is complying with the treaty. German-Russian relations have suffered greatly from the sanctions imposed in connection with the Crimea, but also from the tensions between NATO and Russia on the eastern border of the EU. The pressure of European partners on Germany in connection with North Stream 2 is enormous. My party is committed to normalizing relations with Russia again in order to ease the situation in Europe. The representatives of the international community who are interested in peace in Europe and good relations with Russia must meet immediately and put a stop to the warmongers.
10. November 2019.