A Europe for all?

European policy talks in a cozy atmosphere

The Russian war of aggression on Ukraine, already more than 2000 deaths in the Mediterranean this year, high inflation that makes life unaffordable for many, the massive consequences of the climate crisis, a shift to the right in Europe: the list of challenges facing the European Union is long and we have to be careful that social cohesion in Europe does not fall short. 

Is European solidarity the key to getting out of the crises? Is a Europe for all feasible?

The MEP Erik Marquardt is responsible for the topics of flight, migration and human rights in the Green parliamentary group. He will report on the current status of the Common European Asylum System and explore the question of which steps are necessary on the way to a humanitarian and human rights-based asylum system.

Rasmus Andresen is the spokesman for the German Greens in the European Parliament and a member of the Budget and Finance Committees. He will discuss social issues in the current crisis policy and the consequences of the current economic and financial policy.

We cordially invite you to European political discussions with delicious food and drinks

A Europe for all?

On September 14 at 19:00

in the tree house Berlin

Gerichtstr. 23, 13347 Berlin-Wedding


Please register using the form below as we have limited capacity on site.

For all people who cannot attend on site, there will be a possibility to listen via a live stream. You will receive the link via email shortly before the event starts, please register for this as well. 

The panel discussion of the event will be recorded. 

Video: Presentation of the study on the criminalization of refugees

On July 6, we presented the results of the study "A lawless space – the systematic criminalization of refugees for driving a car or boat to Greece". If you missed the event, you can watch it again here. 

You can find the presented study in English, German and Greek here

On my behalf, Borderline Europe took a look at how the fight against suspected smugglers is being waged in Greece and came up with some shocking results. The investigations reveal a lawless space in which arbitrary justice is the order of the day in order to deter other people from fleeing. 


Smugglers represent the second largest group of inmates in Greek prisons, over 90% of them are third country nationals. In the vast majority of cases, however, it is not people smugglers who make money, but simply refugees who are accused of smuggling; and this only because they are accused of having crossed the border by car or boat. 

Most individuals are convicted based on the testimony of a police or coast guard person, who in 68 percent of cases is not even present during the proceedings. A trial lasts an average of 37 minutes, with the average prison sentence being 46 years. Due to a lack of translation, the convicted often do not even directly understand what they have just been sentenced to and for. Given the severity and extent of criminalization and the associated human rights violations, there is an urgent need to address this problem and bring it to the attention of a wider public.

That is why on 06 July 2023 we met in the projecttogether met to talk about the criminalization of refugees. 

The speakers

Lotta Mayr and Julia Winkler from Borderline Europe have presented the results of the study. Afterwards, the Greek lawyer Natasha Dailiani from the Legal Centre Lesvos again explicitly addressed the Greek legal framework. Mahtab Sabetara told the story of her father, who is in prison in Greece and was sentenced to 18 years in prison for driving the car in which everyone fled. How you can learn more about the case and support her in getting her father released, you can here or on Instagram experienced. At the end Petar Rosandić from SOS Balkan Route and Roswitha Feige from the Austrian Parish network asylum described how they managed to prevent the Lipa prison camp in Bosnia. 

Event on the topic „No Hunger by 2030?“

For the past three years, the number of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition worldwide has been rising dramatically again. Currently, 828 million people are affected, 10% of the world's population. Although there is enough food available worldwide, numerous factors mean that the right to food cannot currently be granted in many countries. These include the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine and resulting disrupted trade chains and price increases; the severe consequences of climate change, such as drought or severe storms and resulting crop failures; and last but not least, violent conflicts. Countries in the global South are particularly affected. Harmful practices such as food speculation further fuel global food insecurity. The implementation of long-term strategies in partner countries, support for sustainable agricultural practices, and the provision of sufficient resources for emergency aid in crisis regions can be decisive levers in tackling global hunger. 

Given the ongoing crises facing the global food system, the EU's contribution to promoting food security is more important than ever. But how is Europe taking global responsibility for feeding the world? What challenges and conflicts stand in the way of a global green and just future without hunger? And how can we reduce influences from food speculation on an already tense situation? 

To seek answers to these questions, on June 02 we will look at the current state of food security, the challenges facing the global food system, and the role of EU policymakers in addressing these challenges. 


17:00 – 18:30

  • Welcome by MEP Martin Häusling (Agricultural Policy Spokesman for the Greens/EFA) and MEP Erik Marquardt (Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Development)
  • Input from Tobias Reichert – Germanwatch: Impact of food speculation on food security.
  • Input from Sigrid Müller – World Food Programme: How far to the goal of No Hunger by 2030?
  • Discussion and exchange with the audience

18:30 – 19:00

  • Conclusion with small reception

Moderation: Susan Zare, Moderator, Journalist & Speaker


Spielfeld Digital Hub, Skalitzer Straße 85/86 – 10997 Berlin

Date and time: 


17 – 7 pm 



For all people who cannot attend on site, there will be a possibility to listen via a live stream. You will receive the link by mail shortly before the event starts.

Greece: Inhumane conditions in deportation prison

In the northern Greek Paranesti deportation prison eleven refugees went on hunger strike to draw attention to the catastrophic and inhumane conditions in the camp.

The systematic and arbitrary detention of refugees in Greece has been highlighted in two investigations by the Border Violence Monitoring Network and from Mobile Info Team documented. In the reports, those affected describe physical abuse and violent practices in the prisons, as well as deplorable hygienic conditions and lack of access to sufficient medical care and legal counsel. Together with members of the Socialist and Left Groups, I call for the release of all underage refugees and all refugees whose detention time exceeds the legal limit, an end to violence, and an immediate improvement in prison conditions. You can find the letter here.

We need a coordinated EU mechanism for Russian dissidents and defectors

In my letter to the Commission, I join 34 other MEPs from four political groups in calling for the EU to establish a coordinated mechanism for Russian dissidents and defectors. The original letter with all signatures can be found at here.

Dear Commission President von der Leyen

Dear Vice President Schinas,

Dear Commissioner Johansson,

Following the recent announcement of military mobilization in Russia, we, as Members of the European Parliament, address the European Commission with a request to urgently develop coordinated solutions at the EU level to be proposed to Member States to ensure effective access to asylum for dissidents and persons fleeing compulsory conscription into the Russian military. Fleeing compulsory military conscription is a widely accepted reason for asylum worldwide, including in European Union Member States. Maintaining this practice is particularly appropriate in a situation of such close geographic proximity to belligerents. Since the beginning of Putin's war of aggression, numerous atrocities and war crimes committed by the Russian army have been reported, and news of misinformed and disillusioned Russian soldiers is also widespread.
The European Union was founded on the values of democracy and fundamental rights and with the aim of securing peace in Europe. It must therefore be in the interest of all Member States to uphold the human rights of Russian defectors to seek asylum in the EU rather than be forced to fight and kill our Ukrainian allies. Therefore, we turn to the European Commission to quickly propose a mechanism to allow deserters to flee to the EU. Only good coordination and quick action at the EU level can bring safety to many people who refuse to participate in Russia's murderous war in Ukraine, knowing the complicated security situation and the geopolitical sensitivity of this issue. The rapid activation of the Temporary Protection Directive for Ukrainians:inside has shown that unity and coordination produce results. Following this great example, we hope for proposals in the same spirit and promise the active cooperation of the European Parliament. With this letter, we would also like to join the calls made by the President of the Council Charles Michel and the Czech Prime Minister Fiala in early March to grant asylum to Russian soldiers who are not willing to continue fighting in this war.

Yours sincerely,

MEP Erik Marquardt (Greens/EFA)
MEP Rasmus Andresen (Greens/EFA)
MEP Malin Björk (GUE/NGL)
MEP Micha Bloss (Greens/EFA)
MEP Saskia Bricmont (Greens/EFA)
MEP Delara Burkhardt (S&D)
MEP Anna Cavazzini (Greens/EFA)
MEP Clare Daly (GUE/NGL)
MEP Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield (Greens/EFA)
MEP Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg (Greens/EFA)
MEP Cornelia Ernst (GUE/NGL)
MEP Daniel Freund (Greens/EFA)
MEP Malte Gallée (Greens/EFA)
MEP Alexandra Geese (Greens/EFA)
MEP Claude Gruffat (Greens/EFA)
MEP Bernard Guetta (Renew)
MEP Henrike Hahn (Greens/EFA)
MEP Morten Helveg Petersen (Renew)
MEP Dietmar Köster (S&D)
MEP Philippe Lamberts (Greens/EFA)
MEP Pierre Larrouturou (S&D)
MEP Karen Melchior (Renew)
MEP Tilly Metz (Greens/EFA)
MEP Hannah Neumann (Greens/EFA)
MEP Niklas Nienaß (Greens/EFA)
MEP Jan-Christoph Oetjen (Renew)
MEP Younous Omarjee (GUE/NGL)
MEP Jutta Paulus (Greens/EFA)
MEP Terry Reintke (Greens/EFA)
MEP Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL)
MEP Jordi Solé (Greens/EFA)
MEP Tineke Strik (Greens/EFA)
MEP Yana Toom (Renew)
MEP Miguel Urbán Crespo (GUE/NGL)
MEP Nils Ušakovs (S&D)
MEP Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (Greens/EFA)

Resilience and resistance – Study on the criminalization of solidarity.

This study, commissioned by the Green Group in the European Parliament, analyzes the state of criminalization of solidarity with refugees in the European Union. 

People are put on trial because they help other people on the run in a humanitarian way. This should deter and ensure that the flight to Europe remains life-threatening and inhumane. Since 2015, we have experienced in Europe how more and more people, in more and more EU countries, are criminalized because they were in solidarity with refugees. Even for rescuing people in distress at sea, people in Italy and Greece currently have to answer to the courts and face long prison sentences. 

In doing so, this new study by Picum and the Green European Group highlights new trends in the criminalization of solidarity and offers advice on what to do about it. Specifically, the study looks at 89 people who were criminalized in the EU between January 2021 and March 2022 for helping people fleeing. In the vast majority of cases, they were providing food, shelter, medical assistance, or transportation to people fleeing, or helping them with their asylum applications. 

However, many cases remain undetected because 

  • fears that media attention could further jeopardize relations with the authorities and limit access to border areas or reception centers;
  • to preserve the right to privacy of volunteers and not to endanger them and their families was more important;
  • some human rights defenders prefer not to speak out during ongoing proceedings.

In the vast majority of the cases examined in the study (88 %), human rights defenders were charged with aiding and abetting the entry, transit, residence, or smuggling of migrants.

Criminalization of refugees

Moreover, it is still worrying that the criminalization of human rights defenders who are themselves refugees is even less known, as the study points out. These individuals are in a particularly vulnerable situation, as they face deportation, refoulement, arbitrary detention, and loss of status. Many face harsh financial, social and economic consequences.

The European Union must take immediate action to address the crackdown on solidarity and prevent the criminalization of humanitarian aid. In light of the growing criminalization of aid workers and people on the run, we need independent monitoring mechanisms at external borders, better protection for aid workers, and a clear condemnation of the criminalization of refugees themselves. 

If the helpers already take on tasks for which the states no longer feel responsible, then they should receive state funding for this. The current federal government should support humanitarian projects at the external borders.

EU pays €80 million to Egyptian coast guard

In response to my question, the Commission has stated that over the next two years it will provide €80 million in support to the Egyptian Coast Guard to repatriate fugitives. You can find my question and the answer here. You can find the full article from Statewatch, based on the request here.

The humanitarian corridor to Syria was extended – with concessions to Russia.

On Sunday, the mandate for the last remaining humanitarian border crossing into Syria expired. After Russia on Friday rejected the resolution of Ireland and Norway to keep the border crossing open for another year had prevented with a veto, was on Tuesday  a âcompromise textâ adopted. This extends humanitarian assistance across the border crossing for another six months. After the adoption of the resolution, according to the Syrian civil defense unit White Helmets Russian bombs, among others, on Idlib – the region for which the humanitarian aid of this border crossing is intended. 

Through the Bab al-Hawa humanitarian corridor, which connects Turkey with Idlib province, international aid can now continue to be transported from Turkey to Syria. In 2014, four such humanitarian crossings were approved by the UN Security Council, but in recent years, three of them have already been closed due to vetoes by Russia and China. Russia had repeatedly argued that threatenedto not extend the last remaining border crossing. Then, humanitarian assistance could only be provided through Damascus. Syrian like international Organizations have repeatedly warned that such a decision would further exacerbate the suffering of Syrian civilians. UN Secretary-General António Guterres had also urged the members of the Security Council accessedto extend the term for the humanitarian corridor.

Why do we need these border crossings for humanitarian goods? 

The consequences of years of war, economic crisis, COVID-19 pandemic: According to UN estimates 14.6 million Syrians are currently in need of humanitarian aid. More than ever before. 12 million people in Syria are acutely food insecure, and 90 percent live in poverty. However, the provision and distribution of basic goods in Syria is a complex matter if it is to reach the entire civilian population: Aid is being misused by war criminal Bashar Al-Assad for his own political purposes. Various areas of Syria remain under the control of different parties and groups, even though the Syrian regime has retaken large parts. Humanitarian assistance is particularly difficult in areas outside regime control, as the Syrian regime often does not distribute or allow aid through. Therefore, it is essential for the provision of basic services to the civilian population that relief supplies can also be brought into the interior from outside. For example, 60% of people in northwestern Syriamore than half of them internally displaced, are in need of humanitarian and medical assistance across the border crossing. 

Strengthening the regime through aid?

In the study Rescuing Aid in Syria Natasha Hall of the Center for Strategic & International Studies argues that aid to the Syrian regime would not provide better care for Syrian civilians, but would strengthen the Syrian regime. Humanitarian assistance would be intercepted by the regime and, in particular, redirected to regime-controlled areas. Syrian civil society organizations have therefore been demanding for years that the UN refrain from cooperating with the Syrian regime and organize humanitarian aid separately from it. The Syrian Legal Development Programme and Human Rights Watch criticizeThe report also said that the UN did not pay sufficient attention to human rights safeguards in its cooperation with partners in Syria and thus risked funding actors involved in human rights abuses. Already in 2016, more than 50 organizations signed the report. The United Nationsâ Loss Of Impartiality, Independence And Neutrality In Syria supported. In this criticized the Syria Campaign the UN sharply: by cooperating with the Syrian regime, the UN in Syria violated the three humanitarian principles of impartiality, independence, and neutrality.

What does this have to do with us in Europe?

The EU, and Germany in particular, are the main donors of humanitarian aid in Syria. We have to take a critical look at the current humanitarian assistance on the ground and take the criticism of the Syrian civilian population seriously. Because our funds must not be used to cement the power of Bashar Al-Assad. Our responsibility is to ensure that humanitarian and medical assistance reaches all those in need and does not fall into the hands of the Syrian regime. For this, border crossings for humanitarian goods are essential. Only in this way can humanitarian and medical assistance be moved inland, bypassing the Syrian regime.

The extension of the Bab al-Hawa border corridor for another six months allows many to breathe a momentary sigh of relief, but the humanitarian situation in Syria is already catastrophic. In half a year, the struggle to keep the border crossing open will begin anew and Assad's ally Putin will again show that he sees the Syrian civilian population rather as a geopolitical pawn and abuses people and their suffering to maintain his power.

My letter to the Commission on Greek Pushbacks

On Tuesday was the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with us in Parliament visit. Under his responsibility refugees are disenfranchised, blackmailed and pushed baked. Meanwhile, in Greece, refugees are enslavedto mistreat other refugees and bring them illegally back to Turkey. Unfortunately, Mitsotakis lied to us MPs and pretended that there were no systematic pushbacks in Greece and received support for this from conservatives and right-wingers in parliament. 

In response to these lies I this letter to Commission President von der Leyen, asking her when the Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, will finally take action. The letter was co-signed by 42 MEPs from four political groups, ranging from left-wingers to conservatives. Specifically, we ask to what extent the Commission believes the Greek government's explanations and whether it will finally initiate infringement proceedings. 

Ukraine war and global food security

The Russian war of aggression on Ukraine is not only a danger for those directly affected, it also exacerbates hunger in the world.

Due to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine fall almost 30% of the wheat traded worldwide is gone. This is because in Ukraine, the harvest cannot be harvested and new seeds cannot be brought to the fields. Putin is using hunger as a weapon of war, and the conflict is already having a strong impact on the entire world and the food security of large populations.

Due to prolonged crises and climate change, more and more people are suffering from hunger; in addition, the Corona pandemic has further 141 million people driven into acute hunger. The executive director of the World Food Program, David Beasly, has told us in the Development Committee at the end of June about his latest findings and developments. He states quite clearly that we are currently in the midst of an unprecedented food crisis that can only be mitigated through the joint efforts of all relevant stakeholders. Among other things, David Beasly is currently working with the G7 to find a solution for the transport of wheat from Ukraine. In this context, he also emphasized that the loss of supplies from Ukraine and Russia would exacerbate the situation in Lebanon in particular. 

Lebanon: My impressions on the ground 

At the end of February, I led a delegation of five other members of parliament to Lebanon. The aim of the trip was to gain a concrete overview of the current situation in the country. The socio-economic crisis in Lebanon has continued to worsen – there is still a lack of sufficient access to medical care, electricity, water and food, 74% of people live in poverty. 

The crises in Lebanon have really accumulated in recent years. The country is sinking into corruption and poverty. The war in Ukraine is further exacerbating the situation in Lebanon. Lebanon draws 80% of his wheat from Ukraine. Expert:inside assume that within a very short time the country will no longer have enough food for its population. Since the explosion in the port in 2020, the granary has been missing and has not been rebuilt to this day. 

What the EU does 

At the beginning of April this year, the EU adopted the so-called "Food and Resilience FacilityThe European Union has launched the "Lebanon for hunger" initiative to support our southern neighbors in their fight against hunger. The EU will provide a total of €225 million for this purpose, of which €25 million has been earmarked for Lebanon. The aim is to cushion the consequences of rising global food prices as far as possible. 

In the short term, the initiative aims to respond to emergencies of commodity shortages, help stabilize the balance of payments, and support local social protection and social safety nets facing an additional acute crisis.

In the medium to longer term, the initiative aims to help sustain local agricultural systems and support the development of less input-intensive and more climate-smart agricultural practices. The initiative also aims to contribute to the sustainability of local agrifood systems and help southern neighboring countries diversify and move away from their overdependence on imported grains, including by shifting to less water-intensive varieties, crops, and agricultural practices.