Refugee policy: Cities and states are calling for more help from the federal government – politics
Before the Prime Ministers’ Conference (MPK) this Thursday, municipalities and states are increasing the pressure on the federal government to help them accommodate refugees. “Cities are increasingly reaching their limits when it comes to taking in and caring for refugees,” said Markus Lewe, President of the City Council Süddeutsche Zeitung. The federal government must promise money in the long term; at the same time, the federal states would have to expand their absorption capacities in order to relieve cities and rural districts. The state governments, in turn, also see themselves at the limit, accuse the federal government of refusing aid that has already been promised and are demanding “significantly” more money from it, as the draft resolution on the MPK says.
Lewe, the mayor of Münster, said people would continue to flee to Germany from Ukraine and other crisis and war zones. “Tents, container villages and exhibition halls in the cities have hardly any free spaces left. And there is a lack of free apartments to relieve these collective accommodations.”
There is not enough money and there are no more free accommodations
The heads of government of the federal states are sitting together in Berlin this Thursday. This meeting must deliver results, Lewe demanded. “Putting it off from meeting to meeting” does not help. It is already clear that the promised funds of 1.5 billion euros for the refugees from Ukraine and the refugee-related lump sum of 1.25 billion euros for this year together will not be enough. The cities have long been demanding new financial commitments from the federal government for 2023 and a perspective on how things will continue in 2024.
On this point, they agree with the Prime Ministers: The federal government must “urgently” provide and increase the funds promised for this year, according to the draft resolution on the MPK, which the Süddeutsche Zeitung present. In addition, the government has “so far only insufficiently fulfilled” the promise made by Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) to provide federal property for accommodation.
Olaf Scholz now wants a refugee summit with the prime ministers
Apparently, however, the federal government now seems to be responding to the demand, especially from the Union, to convene a summit meeting with the Federal Chancellor on refugee policy, and not just with Faeser, as has already happened twice. Government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann said that Olaf Scholz (SPD) had suggested this to the federal states, but the exact date was still unclear. According to that news portal The Pioneer May 10th is under discussion.
Then it should also be a question of whether the system of subsidies will be redesigned. The fact that the federal government has only promised a fixed lump sum payment triggers a “constant need for improvement” in view of the increasing number of refugees, write the prime ministers. They want a return to the old system, which will apply until 2021, which also provided for per capita payments, and want to negotiate with Scholz about “permanent, appropriate and rule-based” cost sharing – i.e. no longer be dependent on the good will of the federal government. In Germany, the reception and care of refugees is actually a matter for the federal states.
Municipalities would also like more planning security. This is missing, and that prevents mayors from renting, building or renovating properties in the long term, said City Council President Lewe. In addition, there is a lack of daycare and school places for better integration, and the range of language courses is less and less able to meet demand. “It’s no longer enough to be cautious when it comes to refugees,” Lewe warned. “It doesn’t go well in the long run.”