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Government continues to blur distinction between “refugee” and “migrant”.

NGOs are non-governmental organizations, i.

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Government continues to blur distinction between “refugee” and “migrant”.

NGOs are non-governmental organizations, i.e. non-governmental associations or interest groups. The emphasis is on the negation, ergo on the "not". It is therefore more than strange why the Budget Committee of the Bundestag, with the votes of the Union MPs, decided to support private sea rescue on the Mediterranean with two million euros annually until 2026.

Overnight the SPD, FDP, Greens, CDU and CSU turned the NGOs into if not GOs then HGOs – Half-Governmental Organizations. With government funds, they ultimately finance sea passages from Africa to Europe. In Italy alone, 70,000 people have come to the country in this way - and in various other ways - in the past few months.

Oddly enough, the Germans, and with them many other European countries, are not upset about the sea rescuers, but about the new Italian government, which has the audacity to make the crossing difficult for the ships of the supposed rescuers. Imagine it the other way around: Serbia would not close its border to block the Balkan route, but would give everyone a train ticket to Germany just before entering Serbian territory.

Who knows what would be going on in this country? Who knows what Berlin would do to persuade Belgrade to reverse its welcoming gesture?

But Italy's government is post-fascist - and it's clear where the bad guys are. Isn't Rome right in refusing this kind of shipping? Under these conditions, can one still speak of an escape route or shipwrecked? The German sea rescuers are cruising the Mediterranean Sea, looking out for overcrowded boats with people waiting for the sea rescuers to offer them a safe crossing.

Currently there are mainly Tunisians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis on the boats. With the best will in the world, one cannot call them refugees, no matter how great their need.

Perhaps we should generally get away from the word refugee. The Jewish refugee Hannah Arendt made the difference clear: “A refugee goes from one day to the next or from one week to the next because he has to. In most cases, he cannot choose the country to which he wants to immigrate. With normal immigration, on the other hand, a man goes to this and that country because he wants to go there.” He still has a nationality, even if he destroys his passport before entering the EU. "But we," reported Arendt, "were immediately stateless. That means we were not protected by any consulate, by any international treaties, or by anything.”

Today, unfortunately, this distinction is becoming more and more blurred. The federal government is doing a lot to ensure that he is completely forgotten. If Berlin were consistent, it would have to accommodate all people transported by German ships. But Berlin doesn't want that – just like Italy.

"Kick-off Politics" is WELT's daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music or directly via RSS feed.

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