At a refugee summit in Berlin, the federal, state and local governments agreed on better coordination on the accommodation and care of refugees. Among other things, a digital “dashboard” for migration should ensure “transparency” down to the district level in the future. There were no agreements about money from the federal government.
Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) said: "In 2022 alone, the federal government gave the states and municipalities financial support of 3.5 billion, for this year we have agreed 2.75 billion." There is a clear roadmap to further regulate the financing and to take stock. "The Chancellor and the Prime Ministers will continue to negotiate about this at Easter," she added.
The President of the German District Association, Reinhard Sager, was dissatisfied with the overall results. He said: "In Germany we now urgently need relief for those who bear municipal responsibility." The living space required to accommodate refugees is limited. Volunteers and full-time helpers are no longer available in sufficient numbers. The fact that the federal government has now announced that it will prepare federal properties at its own expense for accommodation is good. Faeser said the property would be rent-free, and the federal government would reimburse the cost of renovation.
demand for more regulation
Not all problems can be solved with money, said Hesse's interior minister, Peter Beuth (CDU). He emphasized: "Migration to Europe must be regulated more closely." There must also be progress in the repatriation of rejected asylum seekers. Andreas Roßkopf, responsible for the federal police at the police union (GdP), also called for this. "The previous coordination between the authorities, for example between foreigners and criminal prosecution authorities, is catastrophic," he told the Bayern media group. The police often fail in the repatriation because of this wrangling over jurisdiction.
However, the Federal Government's new special representative for migration agreements, Joachim Stamp, dampened expectations. He referred to Afghanistan and Syria, two of the main countries of origin for asylum seekers, and said: "You can't have a migration partnership with the Taliban and certainly not with Assad."
Hamburg's Senator for the Interior, Andy Grote (SPD), said with a view to the new work processes that have now been agreed: "We are involving the municipalities even more." Easter is a good time to start talking about money again. By then it would be easier to estimate how many additional war refugees from Ukraine could be expected.
Small scandal on the edge
At the press conference after the event, the general manager of the German district association, Hans-Günter Henneke, caused a small scandal. While Grote was speaking, Henneke, who was sitting between the journalists, left the hall and shouted: "Hypocrite".
Faeser had invited the representatives of the federal states and the municipal umbrella organizations to talk to them about the accommodation and care of asylum seekers and refugees. In doing so, she is also responding to calls for help from some municipalities. After the Russian attack on Ukraine in 2022, more than a million people came to Germany from the war zone. In addition, 217,774 people from Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey and other countries applied for asylum here for the first time last year - more than since 2016. The trend towards more irregular migration continued in January of this year.
Harsh criticism from the CSU
"Frau Faeser's migration summit ends with big question marks and without a solution," criticized CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt. The Minister of the Interior refuses to give the municipalities financial support, they refuse to take measures to limit irregular migration and to quickly return undocumented migrants. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (CSU) must finally organize a top-level meeting himself to "organize support, relief and order on migration issues".
The party leader of the left, Janine Wissler, suggested using other federal buildings to accommodate refugees. In addition, she demanded: "Unjustifiably vacant privately owned buildings must be temporarily confiscated if necessary in order to use them sensibly."
The UN children's fund Unicef criticized that the lack of adequate housing and trained caregivers means that refugee children have to live with their families for long periods in facilities that are not child-friendly and safe. "This also increasingly affects unaccompanied refugee children, since some federal states have already lowered standards for their accommodation and care in the last year," said Unicef Germany. "This increases the risk that refugee children will not be adequately protected and may become victims of violence."