Students ask – Politicians answer


On 19th January, Katharina Vollmer interviewed me on the Landtag elections 2017 in Schleswig Holstein as a part of her studies in European cultures and society. Here are the questions she gathered among her fellow studends and first-time voters and my answers:

Ole, 25: “What will you do, to fund and improve universities in Schleswig-Holstein?”
Arne Rüstemeier: “We want to improve the cooperation between the two university types: academic universities and universities of applied sciences. It is a great and enriching opportunity to exchange knowledge. Furthermore, building a better connection between the economy and universities is crucial to facilitate the transition from being student to entering a job.”

Stella, 20: “Some of my fellow students came to Germany as refugees and through university they integrated almost perfectly. How will you cope with the integration of refugees in the future?”
Arne Rüstemeier: “At that time, where many refugees stranded at the train station in Flensburg we saw the urge to offer help and founded the “Flüchtlingshilfe Flensburg e.V.” (Refugee Help Flensburg). Since then, the preservation of human dignity and seeing each refugee as an individual was our top priority. We have and will in the future support the exchange between locals and refugees, which is important to avoid the creation of stereotypes. In that meaning, we are against mass accommodations and maintain the placement in smaller homes.”

Patrick, 27: “For me as a student in Flensburg it is really expensive and time consuming to travel by train. Are there any plans to improve public transport in Schleswig-Holstein?”
Arne Rüstemeier: “We are definitely working on improving the rail infrastructure, especially within the surroundings of Hamburg, which is the most time consuming area. That will save up a lot of time especially when travelling down from the very north, Flensburg. Also, as a part of our “climate protection management” we support Car Sharing and will work on increasing its network especially at universities. It is a great opportunity for students to be mobile.”

Fabian, 22: “When I moved to Flensburg a few months ago I noticed, that it was really hard to find an affordable flat. What will you do to increase living space and promote affordable rents?”
Arne Rüstemeier: “Our motto is ‘affordable living space for everyone’. But we do not only want to think within the boundaries of the city of Flensburg. We want to support the cooperation with surrounding villages. Additionally, empty living space needs to be taken into account like an unoccupied refugee accommodation in Flensburg, which we could transform into a student dormitory.”

Naima, 19: “I am from St. Peter-Ording where people petition against wind wheels at the coast. They say it destroys the view and the environment of the sea. What is your stance on that issue of establishing renewable energy in Schleswig-Holstein?”
Arne Rüstemeier: “We have to take people with us. We can achieve more support by involving local people in decisions about distances between wind wheel sites and residential areas. It is our goal to support renewable energies which includes wind wheels and offshore wind farms.”