ESI's Gerald Knaus was invited to participate in a live streamed debate on migration policy ("Werkstattgespräch") organised by the German CDU. The debate was introduced by the newly elected party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and the (CSU) Bavarian minister of the interior, Joachim Herrmann.
The other discussants were:
- Professor Dr. Christian Hillgruber, expert for constitutional law and law philosophy at the University of Bonn
- Professor Dr. Daniel Thym, Co-Director of the Research Centre Immigration & Asylum Law at the University of Konstanz
- Professor Dr. Egbert Jahn, political scientist, historian, and peace researcher
Gerald argued that the real problem is refugees who do not need asylum or refugee protection "and who knew this when they started their journey". To address this, he said, "not a theoretical, but a practical debate" is needed. In order to reduce the numbers one needs "deportation realism". He called for fair and at the same time quick procedures to decide more quickly "who needs protection and who doesn't" and to return rejected applicants faster and more consistently. He also argued for the principles of the EU-Turkey agreement to be transferred to other states such as Senegal, Gambia, Nigeria. Not to unstable Libya but to the countries of origin whose citizens leave for Europe without having a chance of being recognised as refugees.
Gerald also participated in the second day of the meeting with four closed workshops.
There was huge interest in German media, many quoting Gerald's proposals:
- Die Welt, Robin Alexander, "Endlich raus aus dem Grundsatzstreit" ("At last, leaving the dispute about principles") (12 February 2019)
- Badische Zeitung, Christopher Ziedler, "Das 'Werkstattgespräch' kommt bei Unionspolitikern gut an" ("The 'workshop debate' is going down well with CDU/CSU politicians") (12 February 2019)
- Die Welt, Thomas Vitzthum, "Die Praktiker der Migrationspolitik verzweifeln an den Experten-Ideen" ("Workshop debate: the practicians of migration policy despair about the ideas of the experts") (11 February 2019)
- Focus, "CDU-'Werkstattgespräche': Flüchtlingsexperte benennt Merkels 'größten Fehler' und macht ihr konkreten Vorschlag" ("CDU 'workshop debate': refugee expert calls out Merkel's 'biggest mistake' and makes a proposal") (11 February 2019)
- n-tv, "CDU-'Werkstatt' sucht Ideen: Migrationsforscher fordert 'moralischen Realismus'" ("CDU 'workshop'in search of ideas: migration expert calls for 'moral realism'") (11 February 2019)
- Tagesschau, Anja Günther, "CDU-'Werkstattgespräch': Die Abrechnung mit Merkel bleibt aus" ("CDU 'workshop debate': no reckoning with Merkel") (11 February 2019)
- Der Tagesspiegel, Robert Birnbaum, "CDU will 'kein Scherbengericht' über Merkels Flüchtlingspolitik" ("CDU doesn't want 'ostracism' on Merkel's refugee policy") (10 February 2019)
- Bild, "'Werkstattgespräch', hier rechnet die CDU mit Merkels Asyl-Politik ab" ("'Workshop debate', the CDU's reckoning with Merkel's asylum policy") (10 February 2019)