Migration: Federal and state governments: Hardened fronts on refugee costs

In the dispute over financing the reception of refugees, there are no signs of any rapprochement between the federal states and local authorities on the one hand and the federal government on the other.

Migration: Federal and state governments: Hardened fronts on refugee costs

In the dispute over financing the reception of refugees, there are no signs of any rapprochement between the federal states and local authorities on the one hand and the federal government on the other. The states are pushing for more money from the federal government. Yesterday evening, the Heads of the State Chancellery sent the Federal Chancellery a common basis for consultation.

Tomorrow this will be discussed at the refugee summit in Berlin. Doubts about the government's course are also being voiced within the traffic light coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP: Greens leader Ricarda Lang has demanded more money from the federal government for the accommodation of refugees.

Countries make four demands

The countries are going into tomorrow's talks with great unity. The paper, which was sent to the Chancellery yesterday evening and is available to the German Press Agency, mainly includes four specific demands: The federal states demand full reimbursement of costs for accommodation and heating for refugees as well as a general monthly per capita flat rate for accommodation and care according to the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act .

In addition, the Prime Ministers want a reliable solution for integration costs and the costs for unaccompanied refugees at the federal-state consultations tomorrow with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). "A financing model is needed that is appropriate in terms of amount and adapts to changing refugee numbers (breathing system)," says the state paper. In the first four months of this year alone, initial asylum applications increased by almost 80 percent compared to the same period last year increased.

Controversy over lifting dampens expectations

Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit emphasized yesterday in Berlin that the federal government already bears a significant part of the costs of taking in refugees in Germany. "It is true that the municipalities are facing financial challenges," said Hebestreit. However, the federal states are responsible for their financial situation, direct financial relationships between the federal government and the municipalities are not legally provided for. "In this respect, the federal government can only help to a limited extent."

Green leader Lang said she assumes that the government has an eye for the problems on the ground and doesn't want to let anyone down. "That's why I'm optimistic that we can find solutions together." Many municipalities went to their load limit. "In the end, it will probably also be about a financial contribution from the federal government." The demand for more financial support had so far been rejected by the federal government.

FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai said his party expects tomorrow's meeting to herald "a turning point in migration policy". "This is not about money. Money will only help in the short term. What we need are political solutions." It is about management and control in migration policy. "People in our country want to know who is coming to us."

Municipalities see the federal government as having an obligation

The chairman of the Prime Ministers' Conference (MPK), Lower Saxony's head of government, Stephan Weil, emphasized that the federal states and local authorities stand side by side on this issue. "The financial resources of the federal government must be based on the actual number of people who have fled to us, with one-off lump sum payments it is not enough," said the SPD politician. The municipalities also demanded that the federal government bear 100 percent of the costs of accommodation again.

North Rhine-Westphalia's Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst, as co-chairman of the MPK, criticizes the fact that the federal government made it clear before the exchange that it did not want to give any more euros. That was "not an appropriate answer," he said yesterday in Düsseldorf. "It shows that the federal government does not have sufficient awareness of the problem and that is why we are preparing for very, very lengthy and difficult negotiations on Wednesday." Unfortunately, the federal government has abandoned a proven system of linking financial aid to the number of refugees.

The heads of government of the federal states had previously exchanged views with the federal heads of the municipal umbrella organizations. "Results must be achieved on Wednesday," said the President of the German District Association, Reinhard Sager, of the German Press Agency. The municipalities did not ask for the impossible, but for recognized refugees to be fully reimbursed for their accommodation costs. Here there is an annual gap of more than two billion euros in the municipalities.

Countries: Completely insufficient funding

The cost of accommodation and care for those seeking protection are a bone of contention between the federal and state governments. The fact that the federal government does not provide sufficient financial support to the states is clear from a paper by the state finance ministers, which, according to information from the German Press Agency, was mutually agreed on Sunday evening. In it, the federal states complain about cuts in the assumption of costs by the federal government and, as a result, completely inadequate financial resources in view of the growing burdens.

The state finance ministers open this calculation: "A large part of the federal government's services are limited and will cease from 2024," they balance. Only the annual refugee allowance of 1.25 billion euros is currently regulated. In comparison, the federal states would have received 4.5 billion and 2.8 billion euros from the federal government in 2022 and 2023, respectively. "In 2016, the federal government even paid 9.1 billion euros," they say, referring to the recent refugee crisis.

The federal government argues that in view of the large number of refugees from Ukraine, it will have massively expanded support from the federal states and municipalities again from 2022. However, this is happening in a different way than in 2015/16.