The challenges are enormous. More than a million people fled to Germany from Ukraine alone before the Russian invasion. On Thursday, the heads of government of the federal states called for greater financial support from the federal government in order to be able to accommodate and care for refugees. "You will make it! Lots of refugees and no plan?” Maybrit Illner asked the Prime Ministers of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hendrik Wüst (CDU), and Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Dreyer (SPD), as well as Tübingen Mayor Boris Palmer (Greens), District Administrator Tino Schomann ( CDU), the journalist Helene Bubrowski and the Ukrainian doctor Hanna Stoiak on Thursday evening.
Stoiak's escape story initially provided a remarkable basis for discussion. Shortly after the start of the Russian attack, she fled with her daughter from Zaporizhia to Mülheim in Rhineland-Palatinate. Despite her ten years of professional experience as a pediatrician, she now lives on welfare and is only allowed to work as an intern. It can take one to two years for the German authorities to recognize your license to practice medicine. That is "not so easy to understand," said the Ukrainian. Malu Dreyer was "depressed".
"We would be really crazy if we didn't manage to simplify these procedures." "Ukrainians would like to work and at the same time we are struggling with a shortage of skilled workers," complained the SPD politician. While 65 percent of Ukrainian refugees work in Poland, Maybrit Illner calculated that this proportion is only around 20 percent in this country.
In view of these figures, Hendrik Wüst referred to a "high level of requirements" on the local labor market and other "capacity problems". Hanna Stoiak had to wait five months for a language course.
The situation is "almost degrading" for the doctor, Boris Palmer criticized: "We have to get down from the German bureaucratic standards." The mayor of Tübingen also spoke of the "scarcity of elementary goods". Every fifth social housing in his city has been given to refugees in recent years.
In the case of new refugees, he is again “obligated to accommodate”: “This is cut-throat competition at the expense of people with low incomes.” Malu Dreyer painted a less gloomy picture. Although she has to provide apartments regionally, the federal government pays for integration services and living expenses, which relieves the states and municipalities “very much”.
45,000 people fled to Rhineland-Palatinate, 6,600 of whom work, said Dreyer and concluded: "We're not that bad." declared libertine. Taking up work is a lower priority for mothers of traumatized children. Palmer also emphasized that there was a "blatant lack" of daycare places. That is why parents have to “cut back” on work. He advocated bringing the refugees “into their own system”.
"Without all the bureaucratic standards," Ukrainian refugees could set up playgroups themselves, where they look after children in their mother tongue. It is a "good intermediate step", especially since it is unclear how long people want to stay. "People will stay longer," emphasized Hendrik Wüst, "some certainly forever." At the municipal level, "reliable structures" are necessary for this, for which they in turn need a "fair share from the federal and state governments".
In the direction of Berlin, the CDU politician called for “order and humanity to be thought together”, to speed up procedures and lower standards. "We have to speak very seriously about this with the federal government." The next opportunity for this will arise on May 10th. Then Chancellor Olaf Scholz will meet with the Prime Minister for a special summit on how to deal with refugees.