Before the state election in brandenburg: the left party insists on sea rescue

If the Left Party makes it into the state government of Brandenburg, it wants to finance a ship for sea rescue, including crew, in the Mediterranean.

Kathrin Dannenberg and Sebastian Walter, top candidates for Die Linke in Brandenburg Photo: dpa

In Brandenburg, the Left Party is demanding that the state become active in sea rescue in the Mediterranean and buy a ship for this purpose. Kathrin Dannenberg and Sebastian Walter, the Left’s top candidates for Brandenburg’s state elections in September, told the taz on Wednesday.

The proposal includes converting the ship for sea rescue and equipping it with an infirmary. It is then to be made available for use by a civilian organization. The maintenance of the ship and the crew should also be financed by the state of Brandenburg, if the Left Party has its way.

The demand is to be implemented by the next state government after the election. Walter explained that for him, a coalition agreement must include concrete initiatives on how people can be saved from drowning in the Mediterranean.

"It must be the duty of the coming state government to save human lives," he told the taz. However, he does not want the proposal with the Brandenburg ship to be understood as a "red line." "If SPD or the Greens have a better proposal or the federal government becomes active again, that’s also fine."

State rescue mission not legally possible

The Left Party is seeking a coalition with the SPD and the Greens in Brandenburg. The two desired partners have so far also kept other coalition options open. In their election program, the Greens demand that people rescued from distress at sea be accepted in Brandenburg. The SPD’s election program makes no mention of the issue.

Six weeks in the east: Before the state elections in Saxony on September 1, 2019, the taz was in Dresden. Since July 22, we have been on the ground with our own editorial team. We are or were also very close in Brandenburg and Thuringia before the state elections with our #tazost focus – on, Instagram, Facebook and Periscope. Our journalists write and talk about their latest experiences on the Ostblog and Ostcast. Accompanying the reporting, there are taz talks in Frankfurt (Oder), Dresden, Wurzen and Grimma. All information about taz Ost can be found at

Talks are already underway with various private sea rescue initiatives, said the top candidates of the Left Party. He says the state of Brandenburg has many competencies that it can make available to sea rescue – even beyond one ship. Ideally, Walter says, he would like to send a state rescue mission from Brandenburg. But this is not legally possible, he says.

Most recently, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pleaded to resume state-organized sea rescue in the Mediterranean. "Surely it would be good if we had a Sophia mission and state ships rescuing again today," she said in mid-August.

The EU’s Sophia mission has rescued tens of thousands of people since 2015, but was suspended in March this year because of a veto from Italy. Some 15,000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean over the past four years.