Thick Board #16: Afghanistan with Shikiba Babori

In this episode, I talk to Shikiba Babori about Afghanistan. What kind of situation is the country currently in and how did it get there. What about the future of the people in the Hindu Kush with the current troop withdrawal? We focus especially on the rights of women and minorities. And we also explain why freedom of the press is better in Afghanistan than in many neighbouring countries.

Shikiba Babori is an ethnologist, journalism trainer and freelance journalist living in Cologne. She leads the Journalists Network Kalima and has also trained women journalists in Afghanistan. She came to Germany from Kabul at the age of 14 and is an expert on women's rights. 

"No matter how hard their journey to Europe has been, for many this flight is the last hope they have. Because there, in the country, they would simply die."

Shikiba Babori, Journalist


  • In his report. "Inside Taliban" reports Zeit chief reporter Wolfgang Bauer on the goals and dangers currently emanating from the Taliban.
  • Here I writehow the EU facilitates deportations to the most dangerous country in the world  
  • In her book "Zinc boys" the Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich documents the brutality of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Works by and interviews with Shikiba Babori

Thick Board #15: The Moria Complex with Maximilian Pichl

I talk to researcher Maximilian Pichl about his study The Moria Complex - Irresponsibility, incompetence and disenfranchisement five years after the EU-Turkey agreement and the introduction of the hotspot system. The study itself is 22 pages long and is well written.

In this text I also explain how time was bought five years ago with the EU-Turkey deal, but unfortunately not used and here I declarewhy the German plans for a European asylum and migration pact failed and why negotiations are currently stalled.

You can find more info from the camp itself and also from those involved on Instagram moria2_karatepa or on Twitter at Moria Media Team.

The treatment of minorities and refugees is also a measure of how societies defend their self-imposed standards of human dignity, human rights and the rule of law.

Maximilian Pichl, law and political scientist at the University of Frankfurt am Main

Thick Board #14: Corona and the EU with Jutta Paulus

There is currently a lot of criticism of the EU's vaccination strategy and many citizens are wondering why vaccination is slower in the EU than in other parts of the world. That is why, in this episode, I talk to my colleague and fellow party member Jutta Paulus about the European Union's pandemic and health policy. We also talk about the sense of the measures and how people in the global south can get faster access to vaccinations.

I also wrote this text, which shows why it is important not to exclude the global south from our vaccination campaigns. Because the mutations clearly show that we are also affected if vaccination is not carried out quickly enough worldwide.

"I would like to see us go the route where not so many people die."

Jutta Paulus, MEP Alliance 90/The Greens

Thick board #13: Situation of refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina with Krsto Lazarević

Thousands of refugees are currently freezing in the Bosnian Una Sana canton on the EU border with Croatia. Many of them have already been mistreated and illegally beaten back to Bosnia by Croatian officials.

In the burnt-out Lipa camp, on the other hand, the Bosnian army has meanwhile erected a few heated army tents so that the people at least do not freeze to death. But there is not enough space for everyone and the conditions are inhumane.

With my colleague and Balkans expert Krsto Lazarević I talk about what the current situation is and what needs to happen now. How it came about that thousands of people seeking protection in Bosnia have to freeze, you can also read in this post of mine.

Thick board #12: Frontex – with Arne Semsrott

In this episode I talk to Arne Semsrott from Frag den Staat about Frontex and human rights violations at the EU's external borders. We both know each other a bit longer from university politics in Berlin and his brother Nico is my well-known colleague in parliament. In the meantime, we both deal with Frontex. Arne is trying to get documents from Frontex via the Freedom of Information Act, which the agency does not like to give out.

Proceedings against Frontex can be very expensive. If you want to support „Ask the State“ you can do so via this link donate to the association.

I would tend to abolish this whole construct called Frontex and build something new and much more constructive.

Arne Semsrott, Ask the State

On 1 December, Fabrice Leggeri was invited to the European Parliament's Committee on Home Affairs, of which I am also a member, and we were expecting some answers to questions about the involvement of his border agency, Frontex, in serious human rights violations. Unfortunately, Mr Leggeri preferred to beat about the bush, deflect and not answer most of our questions.  He lied about one of the pushback executions.... My group and I are now calling for a committee of inquiry to be set up in the European Parliament. You can watch the whole hearing here ...look at it. You can find my question if you set 14:37:10 in the timeline.

Monitoring Frontex is very difficult for Parliament.

Erik Marquardt, Member of the European Parliament

At Spiegel you can find more information about the Untruths of the Frontex Director and in addition how Frontex tries to cover up human rights violations.

Thick Board #11: Carolin Emcke on the Simulation of European Refugee Policy

Carolin Emcke is one of the most important thought leaders in Germany for an open and humane society. She was also awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade for her work. Together with her, I will discuss fundamental questions about migration and the current situation on the Greek islands: How can we ensure that there is no more Moria in Europe? How can we rethink migration in the field of tension between borders and flows? What paradigm shift do we need if we are serious about an open society and refugee protection?

Just saying „We can do this“ was just not enough.

Carolin Emcke

Thick board #10: Franziska Grillmeier on the situation on Lesbos

The journalist Franziska Grillmeier lives and works on Lesbos – a contradictory island where suffering and holidays are often only a few metres apart. The situation on the Greek Aegean island and its notorious slum Lesbos has meanwhile become a symbol for the failure of European refugee policy – but it can also become a symbol for the opposite if we set the framework conditions for it now.

As always, you can find the latest episode of the podcast here on Soundcloud.

Thick board #9: The EU and its finances with Rasmus Andresen

This episode is about money. A lot of money. €1.8 trillion over the next six years to be precise. I talk to my Green colleague Rasmus Andresen about one of the most important issues facing the EU: finances, and in particular the EU's medium-term financial framework.

Rasmus explains what it is, how it works and why few politicians actually deal with finance in detail.

We explain what the role of the European Parliament is, why the member states find it difficult to reach agreement and who the "stingy four" in the EU actually are. We also talk about why we think it makes sense that the allocation of EU funds should also be tied to criteria such as the rule of law.

If you want to learn more about the topic, then you can here Rasmus Europanewsletter Subscribe.

"Rich people can afford a weak state. Poorer people can much less."

Rasmus Andresen, Spokesperson for Financial Policy of Bündnis90/die Grünen in the European Parliament

Thick board #8: European refugee policy

In this episode, I speak with Josephine Liebl of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) about what a more humane European refugee policy could look like and why we don't have it.

We look at why some politicians prefer to make populist proposals rather than solve problems. Why success is only measured by the fact that fewer people arrive, but not by how they are dealt with. And we also talk about why refugee organisations trust the European Parliament more than the Commission and the member states.

Links to the episode

There are currently 79.5 million refugees in the world. Here is the latest report of the UNHCR

The problem is not that there is no right of asylum, but that the right of asylum agreed by Member States is not applied by Member States.

Josephine Liebl, European Council on Refugees and Exiles

You look at rubber dinghies and see that there are people who look like they are from Syria and Afghanistan and then you don't save them, while you would probably save others.

Erik Marquardt

Thick board #7: Two months on Lesbos

I was on Lesbos for two months and shortly after my return I spoke with Jagoda Marinić, head of the Intercultural Centre Heidelberg, about the situation in the refugee camps, the political unwillingness to find solutions and about the campaign Leave No One Behind. You can also download the entire conversation as Stream on Youtube watch. The podcast here is an abridged version of the conversation.

Links to the episode

My guest editorial in the World: On the refugee issue, Corona is a welcome excuse

The potrait about me in the mirror: The parliamentary activist

"I'm on Lesvos regularly, after all, and it's always stark to see what six months in Moria like this does to people who were once full of vital energy."

Erik Marquardt