Since the end of 2021, the population of Germany has grown by 843,000 people, i.e. by around one percent of the total population. This number shows a trend that is likely to continue. The Chancellor is right when he points out that Europe and Germany are dream destinations.
But what he doesn't mention are the massive challenges associated with such population growth in such a short time, especially for cities and communities. Because let's not fool ourselves: "Dream destination" sounds carefree. In truth, however, more and more people are coming to us who are fleeing wars and dictators or who are simply looking for a better life for themselves and their families.
They come not only from the Ukraine, but also and above all via the so-called Balkan route and the Mediterranean. It is mainly Syrians who most recently found refuge in a safe country in Turkey and are now making their way to Germany in the Turkish presidential election campaign, which is now heating up.
Here, however, they encounter a country that – despite considerable municipal efforts – cannot be up to these challenges in the long term. The federal states and municipalities have been warning of an imminent overload since the beginning of the year. Recently we heard more and more calls for help. Cities like Salzgitter, Dresden and Halle have already stopped admissions.
Nine of the 16 federal states have activated a lock on the initial distribution. In Baden-Württemberg, Prime Minister Kretschmann had to have gymnasiums occupied. North Rhine-Westphalia is threatening not to take in any more refugees. Against this background, we must ask ourselves how we can ethically live up to our claim to Christian humanity and order.
On Tuesday, the Federal Minister of the Interior will – finally – meet with representatives of the local authorities. In addition to questions about financing, it will also be about what the federal government can do in concrete terms, for example by upgrading state-owned properties. Above all, we must act quickly now. As is so often the case, the federal government has let the issue slide. It must do everything in its power to reduce the migratory pressure on Germany now.
It is high time that the Federal Chancellor made representations to Ankara and reminded the Turkish President of his humanitarian and international legal responsibilities. Under Angela Merkel, Germany was the mediator between Europe and Turkey. This tablecloth was cut up by the Foreign Minister. It is negligent that the Federal Chancellor shows no interest in resuming the thread of the conversation on this matter.
The traffic light had also promised a repatriation offensive for people without a right to stay in their coalition agreement. In particular, offenders and people who are dangerous should be deported to a greater extent. Unfortunately, nothing has happened here either.
Rather, the federal government continues to mix regulated immigration, humanitarian asylum and illegal immigration. All three are fundamentally different and must therefore be treated fundamentally differently. Only in this way is it possible for us to give the people who need protection and help this protection and help and to create acceptance for it in the population.
Of course, the current immigration movements are not only a major challenge for Germany. A European solution is actually all the more needed. For years, attempts have been made to achieve a fair distribution of refugees in Europe - so far without success.
This circumstance forces us to rethink. It cannot just be about distributing the number of refugees equally. The states of the EU must also develop a common, coordinated understanding of how the tasks associated with the growing number of refugees are shared fairly.
But we also have to ask ourselves why so many people want to come to us. To put it bluntly: War refugees in particular are clearly fleeing the suffering in their home countries. But how do we explain the fact that many people migrate many thousands of kilometers from safe initial host countries to a foreign culture?
How do we explain that many of these people do not stay in the safe EU border countries such as Greece or Italy? Why is Germany more popular as a destination country than many of its European neighbors? The question can and must be asked as to whether we are not hindering European unification – which everyone wants – with our social standards and Germany going it alone.
Dealing with refugees must be shaped by two principles: humanity and order. In order to achieve this, however, we must also work on a solid set of facts and figures that everyone can understand. We see too much how right-wing networks in particular spread myths, twist facts and thus stir up fears. A society that is going through a serious crisis like we are now must oppose this politically and in civil society. This requires transparency.
A clear overview of how many refugees come to us, what benefits they are entitled to, who receives transfer payments and who has already been integrated into the labor market is a first step. During the Corona crisis, the RKI showed us how a simple dashboard can lead to information and thus to understanding.
The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees collects figures every month, but hides them in complicated reports. I would wish that it would no longer only share its findings with decision-makers, but with the entire population.
In conclusion: Such a challenge, the admission of a large number of refugees, cannot and must not be thought of in terms of party politics. It takes an effort from all of us. We, the CDU, are ready for this and stretch out our hand.
Mario Czaja is Secretary General of the CDU and a member of the German Bundestag.