Refugee numbers: Fewer refugees than in 2015 and 2016 - why the municipalities are still having problems

It has been clear since Wednesday that the federal government is contributing billions in additional funds to accommodate refugees.

Refugee numbers: Fewer refugees than in 2015 and 2016 - why the municipalities are still having problems

It has been clear since Wednesday that the federal government is contributing billions in additional funds to accommodate refugees. The states had asked for it. For the current year, it is about an additional 1.5 billion euros for the care of refugees from Ukraine, among other things, as Scholz said. So far, 2 billion euros have been pledged for the care of Ukraine refugees. For the coming year, there should be 1.5 billion euros for taking in refugees from Ukraine, and an annual lump sum of 1.25 billion euros has been announced for people from other countries.

Municipalities had been sounding the alarm for months. One of the reasons: the refugees from the war in Ukraine. According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, "1,019,789 people [...] are recorded who have entered Germany since February 24, 2022 in connection with the war in Ukraine". However, it may be that "a small number have already traveled to other EU countries and also returned to Ukraine," as the ministry writes.

The September report of the "Federal Office for Migration and Refugees" (BAMF) states: "In the reporting year 2022 so far, 134,908 initial applications were received by the Federal Office. In the same period of the previous year, 100,278 initial applications were made; this means an increase in the number of applications by 34.5%. in comparison to the previous year." Most initial applications for asylum came from people from Syria, Afghanistan and Turkey.

Nevertheless, the situation is far from comparable to 2015 and 2016. At that time, the BAMF registered 441,899 (2015) and 722,370 (2016) initial applications for asylum - numbers that, despite the increase in 2022, will probably hardly be reached. The "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported a few days ago on an increase in illegal entries since June: "While the number of unauthorized entries was between almost 4,000 and a good 5,000 people per month in the first half of the year, it has risen disproportionately every month since June. In June The federal police found 6,667 illegal entries, in July 6,941, in August 8,846 and in September 12,701. A further increase is feared." A request from the star to the Federal Ministry of the Interior whether it could confirm these figures has so far remained unanswered. According to the newspaper, they come from federal police statistics.

The group that is currently presenting the federal states, municipalities and communities with the greatest challenge is the approximately one million people from Ukraine. Because of the war, it is difficult to predict how many people will come to Germany from Ukraine and if and when they will return to their home country. This also makes it so difficult to estimate the financial requirements.

The President of the Association of German Cities, Markus Lewe, criticized the commitments made by the federal and state governments for funding when taking in refugees. The challenges increase every day. More and more people are coming from Ukraine and other countries. "The cities are aware of their responsibility and will not leave the refugees on the streets. However, we expect that the federal states will quickly expand their reception capacities and now get more involved in the financing themselves," warned Lewe.

The general manager of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, Gerd Landsberg, also called for “significantly more capacity in initial reception facilities and collective accommodation” from the federal states. The municipalities are already at the limit of their accommodation options, Landsberg told the "Rheinische Post". He and the President of the German District Association, Reinhard Sager, also demanded that the states pass on the funds provided by the federal government to the municipalities. The municipalities have considerable expenses in caring for the refugees, emphasized Sager in the editorial network Germany.

Even if the numbers of refugees in Germany are nowhere near as high as in 2015 and 2016: The cost of living that has risen since then and the tighter housing market make it more difficult and expensive to accommodate the refugees. Despite the decision by the federal and state governments, the discussion about the costs for refugees is likely to continue.

Further sources: "FAZ", BMI on refugees from Ukraine (as of November 1st, 2022), decision of the federal and state governments of November 2nd, 2022, figures from the "Federal Office for Migration and Refugees" (BAMF) for September 2022, "BAMF: Key figures Asylum", "Deutschlandfunk.de" on the situation on the Balkan route, "RP-Online.de".

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