Before the so-called municipal summit of the Union faction on the refugee crisis, faction leader Friedrich Merz accused Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) of inaction on the subject. "As the opposition, we are doing what Chancellor Olaf Scholz should actually be doing: seeking dialogue with the municipalities, districts and cities. The municipalities are begging the chancellor to finally act,” Merz told the “Bild”. "At least his indifference is negligent." Scholz' behavior shakes the trust of European partners in Germany, Merz continued. Europe finally needs a common approach to asylum policy.
This Thursday, the head of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group will be discussing problems with the accommodation of migrants across all parties with mayors and district administrators. According to information from the Union faction, almost 400 local politicians have confirmed their attendance. The municipalities are demanding a long-term strategy for taking in refugees from the federal and state governments.
The CDU leader emphasized that there were "limits to resilience" in Germany too. They have been reached in many places, if not exceeded in some cities and communities. "We must therefore limit irregular immigration to a manageable level," demanded Merz.
According to Merz, 244,000 asylum applications were made in Germany last year. In the current year there are already 30,000 immigrants to Germany every month, mostly refugees and asylum seekers. This means that Germany is “currently far above the guideline” of the previous federal government of 200,000 per year. Only a small part comes from the Ukraine, the larger part from the Near and Middle East.
Specifically, Merz called for more protection of the EU's external borders and asylum centers at the borders. "We finally have to properly secure Europe's external borders. Asylum procedures should be carried out as far as possible at the border of the European Union, for example by reception and decision-making centers close to the border," Merz told the newspaper.
Union interior expert Alexander Throm (CDU) also complained about Scholz's inaction in view of the problems in the municipalities with the accommodation of migrants. "Chancellor Scholz has still not heard a word about the migration crisis, but for the CDU/CSU the issue has long been a top priority," said the domestic policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag of the German Press Agency in Berlin. According to Throm, after the discussion with the local representatives in the Bundestag, the Union faction wants to submit an application that builds on the experiences and needs of the cities, municipalities and districts.
Bavaria's Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann (CSU) meanwhile questioned the social benefits for asylum seekers. He told the "Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung" (Thursday edition): "In a European comparison, Germany pays the highest social benefits to asylum seekers." At the same time, new debt is higher because of the energy crisis and the Ukraine war. The minister demanded: “We have to seriously think about whether we can afford this in the long term. That's an attraction that needs to be talked about.”
Herrmann also called on the federal government to limit the influx of migrants and accelerate the deportation of rejected asylum seekers. To do this, the federal government must put pressure on the countries of origin – for example if they receive development aid from Germany – to take back their nationals. Herrmann also asked the federal government for more financial support for the municipalities: "The minimum is that the federal government provides the completely overwhelmed municipalities with more money."
Demands also come from the FDP parliamentary group: According to a media report, they are urging the government to reduce the sharp increase in immigration of asylum seekers with a position paper. The high number of refugees and the tense situation with accommodation in the municipalities threaten to reduce the overall social acceptance of immigration, it says. The paper by deputy faction leader Konstantin Kuhle and parliamentary director Stephan Thomae is available to the Bayern media group.
Among other things, they demand that “exit custody be extended to 28 days” – so far, a judge can order this for 10 days, for example if a foreigner is likely to want to thwart his deportation. The FDP also insists on the rapid implementation of a point from the coalition agreement: namely to clarify whether asylum applications in third countries could be examined.
Furthermore, the coalition faction calls for more powers for the federal police in the repatriation of those who are obliged to leave the country, which they take up in their area of responsibility. Thomae told the media group's newspapers that "repatriations must be made faster and more effective".
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