Migration: Countries and cities want more money for refugee care

A few days before the migration summit, federal states and municipalities are putting pressure on the federal government to provide more money for the care of refugees.

Migration: Countries and cities want more money for refugee care

A few days before the migration summit, federal states and municipalities are putting pressure on the federal government to provide more money for the care of refugees.

Several prime ministers and the German Association of Cities made it clear that, in their view, the federal government's offer was not enough. Saxony-Anhalt's Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff also sees the state's credibility at stake and the meeting as essential for the country's political future.

On Monday, the heads of government of the federal states will speak with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (CDU) in Berlin about measures to limit irregular migration. Specifically, it is also about money to care for and accommodate refugees. According to their information, the federal government wants to reduce its share from 3.75 to 1.25 billion euros. The countries don't want to accept that. In a resolution in mid-October, they demanded a flat rate of 1.25 billion euros and at least 10,500 euros per migrant. In addition, the federal government should fully cover the accommodation costs.

Saxony-Anhalt's Prime Minister Haseloff told the German Press Agency: "The federal government is responsible for securing the external borders. It cannot be the case that the federal government only wants to cover a fraction of the costs." The capacity limits have been reached. Municipalities and states can no longer cope with the long-term burden.

"Because we don't control immigration and don't stop illegal migration, more and more budget resources have to be spent on this area. Many people no longer accept that," emphasized the CDU politician. A “real breakthrough” is needed on Monday. "Otherwise we as a state will continue to lose credibility overall. The shift to the right is in full swing. Ultimately, Monday will have a significant impact on Germany's political future," said Haseloff, outlining the scope of the meeting at the beginning of next week.

Municipalities “at the limit”, population “unsettled”

The Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Dreyer (SPD), told the dpa that many municipalities are “at the limit” when it comes to accommodating refugees. “It is also undisputed that the mood among the population is very unsettled.” Dreyer also admitted that the federal government had quickly implemented far-reaching demands from the states in order to limit the movement of refugees.

Saarland Prime Minister Anke Rehlinger (SPD) called for “more clarity and order” in German refugee policy. “Anyone who needs our help will get it. To achieve this, the financing must finally be clarified,” she told the dpa.

The Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Manuela Schwesig, told the “Rheinische Post”: “If more refugees come to Germany, federal support must increase.” This must be finally agreed on Monday. “No one locally understands anymore that, on the one hand, more and more asylum seekers are coming and, on the other hand, the federal government is not prepared to fairly finance the costs,” criticized the SPD politician. “The states are demanding 10,500 euros per capita per year from the federal government,” she added.

The German Association of Cities also considers the federal government's offer to be inadequate. City Council President Markus Lewe demanded in the Funke newspapers that Scholz should have “significantly more in his luggage than the previously announced 1.7 billion euros for a per capita flat rate.” The amount for the flat rate must be “at least doubled”. The meeting on Monday will only be a complete success "if we finally get a breathing system of financing that dynamically adapts to the number of refugees and is already secured in the federal budget for 2024," said Lewe.

The Green Party member of the Bundestag Filiz Polat demanded “a clear signal from the Chancellor about appropriate financial support for municipalities with the aim of a fair cost sharing between the federal and state governments.” Concrete solutions for municipalities are better than "sham debates about cuts in social benefits and benefits in kind" for asylum seekers, she told the dpa. The Green Party's interior expert Misbah Khan warned in the dpa interview: "In view of the increasing international competition for workers, we cannot afford an anti-migrant mood in the country."

The Federal Government's Commissioner for Integration, Reem Alabali-Radovan, called for permanent solutions "that help municipalities accept those seeking protection and pacify the ongoing dispute." “What doesn’t help us now are new, charged debates every day about false solutions, upper limits for refugees and integration limits,” she told the Funke newspapers.

FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr reiterated in the "Augsburger Allgemeine" his party's demand to significantly reduce benefits for rejected asylum seekers who are obliged to leave the country. The FDP ministers Christian Lindner and Marco Buschmann also campaigned for this.