Migration: Headwind for the federal government in the dispute over refugee costs

In the dispute over the distribution of costs for the care of refugees, the federal government has once again drawn criticism from the federal states and local authorities.

Migration: Headwind for the federal government in the dispute over refugee costs

In the dispute over the distribution of costs for the care of refugees, the federal government has once again drawn criticism from the federal states and local authorities. The background was statements by Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP), who defended the previous extent of the federal financial participation.

"The federal government is already providing massive support to the federal states. We have all taken the refugees from Ukraine into the citizen's income, which means that the federal government pays for their living expenses, although the federal states are actually responsible," Lindner told the "Rheinische Post".

Financially, the federal states are in better shape than the federal government, which had to take on large debts due to the crises and is facing enormous challenges. "In this respect, the federal government should actually ask the states for support and not vice versa," said the FDP leader.

Headwinds from the countries

Hesse's Prime Minister Boris Rhein rejected Lindner's statements. "What the federal government pays is far from enough," said the CDU politician to the German Press Agency. "The amount of 2.75 billion euros for this year must be at least doubled. It was clear from the start: If the number of refugees increases, the amount of aid from the federal government must also increase."

Rhein added: "If the Federal Minister of Finance is already announcing - a month before the refugee summit in the Chancellery - that there will be no additional money for the federal states and local authorities, then I am very excited to see what generous help the Federal Chancellor and his cabinet are going to give to the battered cities, Municipalities and counties will otherwise offer." At a federal-state summit with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) on May 10th, the refugee costs will be discussed.

Bavaria's Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann (CSU) also criticized Lindner. "The way the traffic light parties in the federal government pass the balls to each other is a terrible foul on the backs of the federal states and municipalities, which bear the main burden in the current refugee situation. It is high time that the federal government dared to step out of its ivory tower and face reality provides," said Herrmann. The federal government's financial support for the accommodation and integration of refugees is completely inadequate.

Herrmann did not want to accept the argument that the federal government would pay for the living expenses of the Ukraine refugees. "Many more asylum seekers than war refugees have long been coming, and for everyone the costs do not end with the cost of living," said the Bavarian Minister of the Interior. "Health care costs, the costs for the day care center and school and much more must also be taken into account."

Thuringia's Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) replied to Lindner on Saturday on Twitter: "Refugee accommodation and distribution of people from Ukraine - complete failure of the federal government. Now the districts, municipalities and cities should be left alone. Irresponsible!"

Difficult situation of the municipalities

The Association of Towns and Municipalities confirmed the difficult situation of the municipalities. Cities and communities have long since reached their breaking point, especially when it comes to accommodating refugees, said General Manager Gerd Landsberg to the newspapers of the Funke media group (Tuesday). He called for "a tour de force in which Germany, as the largest economy in the EU, exerts its influence to better protect the external borders, significantly accelerate the asylum procedures, get the countries of origin of those who are obliged to leave the country to take back their citizens and ensure a fair distribution [of the refugees ] within the EU".

The deputy head of the German police union, Heiko Teggatz, warned that the mood in society would change. "Anyone who has still not recognized that the capacities for accommodation in the cities and municipalities have long been exhausted are obviously suffering from a loss of reality," he told the "Bild" newspaper (Saturday). "No border protection, no upper limit, no money for the municipalities. It's a dangerous cocktail that is changing the mood in the country." He was reacting to statements by Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD).

Faeser told the Funke newspapers last week: "I think it's strange when it's already being said - at the beginning of April this year - that the money for this year isn't enough." The federal government made 4.4 billion euros available in 2022 and took over social benefits for refugees from Ukraine. He also promised federal states and municipalities 2.75 billion euros in additional support at an early stage. In the interview, Faeser refused to limit the number of refugees.

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