interview Dusseldorf The first candidate of the FDP in the next regional elections of NRW, Joachim Stamp, calls for a new migration policy. He speaks of mud fights during the election campaign: “shameful”. And he names concrete conditions for a new government coalition with his party.
How is the reception of refugees in NRW cities going?
Stadeputy We welcomed 130,000 people to North Rhine-Westphalia in a few weeks, more than the peak of 2015. Above all, it is a huge success for the volunteers and the municipalities that this was possible. Civil society can be proud of this. But our state control also worked. With a challenge like this, there will always be situations where it stings, but basically we manage it well. None of us know how the war will continue. If Putin continues his terror against the civilian population in western Ukraine, there could be new, larger refugee movements. But we would be prepared for that too.
What developments do you expect for the future?
Stamp Most refugees wish to return to their country of origin as soon as possible, and of course we hope that this will soon be possible for them. We live touching stories. Families who refuse to move from temporary tent accommodation to an apartment because they see it as a betrayal of their country. You want to stay on the go. But it is still clear that there will be many who will stay here longer, and we want to integrate them quickly. You are welcome at our place. We don’t want to profit from their suffering – but those who choose to stay are an asset to our society. Because we have a demographic gap and a massive shortage of skilled workers.
The FDP wants a controlled migration: are you realigning your objectives now?
Stamp No, of course, I hope the majority of people can come back as they wish themselves. We still need managed migration. And we need more speed. I want us to prioritize two things that have been agreed to at the federal level. First: the new Carte Bleue regulations. It should be possible to enter the German labor market with a simple employment contract with a German company. It is a necessity, almost all companies suffer from a shortage of skilled workers. Second: We want to immediately lift all existing work bans here in North Rhine-Westphalia and Germany that result from old asylum procedures. We need all the help now.
State Minister for the Economy, Andreas Pinkwart, is in favor of nuclear energy as a temporary solution to the energy crisis. They too?
Stamp Yes. I think we should use the three remaining nuclear power plants as a bridge. This is not a new nuclear entry, but there is a social consensus. At the same time, we must develop renewable energies as quickly as possible. We have a suggestion in this respect: of the 60 billion euros of special federal funds for the transformation, we should be able to move 15 to 20 billion to NRW as a particularly energy-intensive site. Mr Wüst is expected to work for the CDU to end its lawsuit against the special fund in the Constitutional Court. Here, the CDU acts against the interests of our country. We Free Democrats also think it makes sense for the state to add up to ten billion dollars in co-funding on top of federal funds over the next five years. According to conservative forecasts, these approximately 25 billion euros would make it possible to increase private investment by 50 billion euros. We would have 75 billion for the transformation process in NRW.
Why don’t you want to make nurseries free?
Stamp This is what we want, but step by step. Because you have to be realistic. It is a budgetary question. We still have huge costs ahead of us in order to fulfill the legal right to an all day open place in schools. There’s no point in making promises before the election that you can’t keep afterwards. But with us, there will be at least one more non-contributory year. Then the years would be free for those over three.
They want 1000 specially equipped talent schools. Why just 1000 coins and not school funding that always takes into account the needs of all schools?
Stamp With the social index, we take into account the needs everywhere. This is an important step for more educational justice, which we have put in place and where even the opposition agrees with us. In addition, we have created beacons with schools of talent, which also shine beyond the school gates in neighborhoods with special challenges. The 60 talent schools we have in NRW are a success story with a clear principle: optimal equipment where the greatest challenges are. And 1000 schools throughout North Rhine-Westphalia is our goal, because that is realistically achievable within the next five years. By the way, our goal is not “Abitur for everyone”. We want to enshrine university and professional education on an equal footing in the state constitution. If my daughters decide to do an apprenticeship and become master carpenters, then it is not an educational decline and it should not be considered as such. And because life paths are different, we also need a diverse school landscape.
FDP stands for corona release. Can you understand that people at risk or working in polluted areas find this antisocial?
Stamp It is a great civilizational achievement, what consideration there was in this society. But the health system is not overloaded by Omikron. In the future, we must protect groups at risk. As soon as a suitable vaccine becomes available, we should talk about a targeted vaccination campaign for the over 60s. In my opinion, a mandatory advice with an offer of vaccination would also make sense. And Schools Minister Yvonne Gebauer and I are already preparing test regimes for different pandemic scenarios so that nurseries and schools are covered in the fall.
What electoral result do you expect for the FDP?
Stamp Our goal is a double digit result. We want to become so strong that no government can be formed without us. We would like to continue the NRW coalition. But in principle, all democratic parties can talk to each other. No constellation is excluded, and we are not interested in who beckons as Prime Minister, but in content. We want a low bureaucracy model for property tax that creates relief in the coalition agreement and implements it immediately. And we want a real estate transfer tax relief program for young families. For us, these things are fundamental to the question of who we will continue to govern with. Also: When the school consensus expires next year, the red-green uniform school with no grades threatens again. Then the excellent specialist schools in NRW are about to close again. I only sign a coalition agreement in which there is a clear commitment to school diversity. The SPD and the Greens must disclose their plans. Even the CDU must not become the stirrup of left-wing educational experiments.
What did you do wrong in the last legislature?
Stamp In my opinion, the fact that we closed playgrounds and daycare centers at the start of the pandemic was a mistake. We should have gotten out of it sooner. We wanted it too, but it was very difficult with the CDU.
How do you feel about the election campaign?
Stamp I find what is happening here between the CDU and the SPD shameful. Both Sides: This staged and choreographed outrage – it’s top notch. We have a 7.7% price increase, we have housed 130,000 Ukrainians and we don’t know what else Putin is up to. And they are about Mallorca-Gate and Instagram and who has been in contact with whom in Russia at any given time. Party historians need to sort this out – we really have bigger challenges.