The federal states are demanding help from the federal government for housing refugees

The federal states are demanding help from the federal government for housing refugees

DThe federal states are demanding significantly more support from the federal government in accommodating refugees. “The current situation makes it clear that a financing model is needed that adapts to changing refugee numbers,” said a decision by the Prime Ministers’ Conference, which met in Berlin on Thursday – albeit without a chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD).

Stephen Locke

Correspondent for Saxony and Thuringia based in Dresden.

“Reliable financing” is needed, said North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) after the meeting. In the past, the federal government had promised lump sum payments, for the past year it was 3.5 billion euros, for the current year 2.75 billion. Wüst said his country would spend 3.7 billion euros on caring for refugees this year. spoke for the federal territory Stephen Weil (SPD), Prime Minister of Lower Saxony and Chairman of the Conference of Prime Ministers, of spending of 16 billion euros. So far, the federal contribution has been “simply too low,” said Weil. The municipalities that are at the breaking point should at least get financial support. He could imagine a 50/50 split between the federal and state governments, Weil said. Wüst showed sympathy for this proposal. On May 10, the country heads will meet with Scholz to make further agreements.

libertine pointed out that in the past few months more people had come from other countries than from Ukraine. Of the 1.2 million refugees last year, one million came from Ukraine. According to Weil, the number of asylum seekers has risen by 76 percent since the beginning of the year compared to the previous year. Both prime ministers called on the federal government to step up efforts to return rejected asylum seekers. “The fundamental right to asylum applies, but we also have to be able to cope with this challenge,” Weil said.

Is the mood in the municipalities changing?

Already on Wednesday, district administrators and mayors from Saxony held a video conference with Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer and Interior Minister Armin Schuster (both CDU) made it clear that the mood in the municipalities could change. Even the middle of society is now hardly willing to accept new asylum seekers, said the District Administrator of North Saxony, Kai Emanuel. “People just don’t want any more refugees.”

The participants explained that the capacities were exhausted. Rural communities in particular, where there is already a shortage of doctors and teachers, no longer know how to cope with new assignments. The anger about the uninterrupted influx is increasingly directed at the federal government. It cannot go on like this that Berlin is always launching new admission programs, but that the municipalities have to deal with the consequences. The local representatives demanded that people with no prospects of staying should not be distributed in the country in the first place. This development not only frustrates the integration workers, but also asylum seekers.

Germany’s interior ministers are largely in agreement that things can’t go on like this, said Armin Schuster. “We urgently need a halt to further programs and the classification of Georgia and the Maghreb countries as safe countries of origin.” That could reduce the pressure in the short term. According to Schuster, the federal government and the federal states must remain in constant contact about their ability and willingness to accept. So far, the municipalities have mastered this very well, but they also set the limits.

If the influx continues, he expects up to 400,000 new asylum seekers this year, refugees from Ukraine not included. At most, half of this is manageable at the moment. Should the federal government maintain its “solo course” in the EU, the other states would simply wave refugees through, said Schuster. “If it stays that way, then I will consistently demand border controls, if necessary also with transit centers from which rejections would be possible.”

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