Migration: what did the refugee summit do for local authorities?

Migration: what did the refugee summit do for local authorities?

After the refugee summit, the parties did not part without any agreement at all. There is a little more money for the municipalities. However, many questions remain unanswered when it comes to limiting irregular migration.

The federal and state governments reached a compromise at their refugee summit that makes nobody really happy. This is shown by the many critical comments the day after. Above all, the increase in the so-called refugee flat rate is new. In addition, several smaller legal adjustments are planned to ensure that people who have to leave Germany actually leave the country. The most important questions and answers:

Who gets how much money now?

In 2016 – at the height of the so-called refugee crisis – the federal government had spent many billions to relieve the burden on states and municipalities. Among other things, there was a flat rate of 670 euros per month per refugee from registration to the conclusion of the asylum procedure. In addition, full reimbursement of accommodation costs and much more. Then the number of refugees declined. That changed again in 2022. Originally, the federal government had promised a one-time lump sum of 1.5 billion euros for 2023 for taking in war refugees from Ukraine. From 2023, there should be 1.25 billion euros annually for the care of all other people seeking protection. This amount will now be increased by one billion to 2.25 billion euros.

Will there be enough money for all expenses?

No. But nobody expected that either. The federal government continues to insist that the care of asylum seekers is one of the tasks of the federal states and local authorities according to the law. They have to organize and finance initial reception facilities, the care of unaccompanied minors and many other things that concern the reception of those seeking protection. Before the meeting with the prime ministers, the traffic light government had also pointed out billions in federal deficits and the overall better financial situation of the federal states and municipalities. Also on the fact that the Ukraine refugees receive social assistance or citizen benefits, for which the federal government will have to spend around five billion euros this year, according to its own estimates.

Why have the federal and state governments only agreed on something for 2023?

After the high financial burden of the Corona aid and the energy crisis, the federal government does not want to take on any new financial obligations in the billions. Above all, Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) does not participate. One of the government’s arguments is that nobody can currently say how the number of asylum seekers and Ukrainian war refugees will develop in the coming months. However, migration experts are not expecting a decline – on the contrary. The course of the war in Ukraine is difficult to predict. However, the domestic political situation in Iran and the consequences of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria make it likely that more rather than fewer people will seek protection in Germany in the summer and autumn. Last year, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees received almost 218,000 asylum applications. In the first four months of this year there were 101,981 asylum applications.

What problems remain unsolved?

In the case of long-term investments that serve to accommodate and integrate asylum seekers, the municipalities must continue to ask themselves whether they will be able to pay for them. Many asylum seekers come to Germany via other EU countries – for example because they have relatives and friends in this country or because they hope for better job opportunities and better state care in Germany. This so-called secondary migration could probably only be reduced in the long term by reforming the Common European Asylum Policy – especially if Germany does not want to sacrifice freedom of movement in the Schengen area. However, it is still unclear whether this reform will come and what exactly it will look like.

The federal government wants a better distribution of asylum seekers in Europe and an examination of the chance of asylum at the EU’s external borders. The latter, like some other points in the resolution, is difficult for some Greens to digest. “What the prime ministers’ conference, headed by Chancellor Scholz, has decided is tantamount to a far-reaching disenfranchisement of refugees,” said Julian Pahlke, member of the Greens in the Bundestag. And: “I don’t feel bound by a decision by an informal body. The German Bundestag still decides on that.”

What does the decision mean for the asylum procedure?

They should become more digital and shorter. The thinking behind it: If the electronic exchange of data between the authorities works better, the decision as to whether someone is allowed to stay or not will be there more quickly. However, those who receive a rejection notice often do not leave the country immediately. Many complain about it. Court proceedings often take a long time. The state government is responsible for this. In order to achieve a faster departure of rejected asylum seekers, at least in the case of asylum seekers from Georgia and the Republic of Moldova – two states that are aiming for EU membership – both states are to be classified as so-called safe countries of origin.

And what about deportations?

Some legal changes are planned here. For example, detention should be extended from the current 10 to 28 days. Custody to leave the country can be ordered if someone makes no move to leave Germany despite being asked to do so. Someone who has entered the country despite an entry ban should in future be able to be taken into custody pending deportation without having to prove that there is a risk of absconding. The member of the Bundestag Hakan Demir (SPD) does not agree. He considers the expansion of the reasons for detention pending deportation and the extension of detention when leaving the country to be “disproportionate tightening”.

Who prevailed at the refugee summit?

No one. The federal government has initially not agreed to the demands of the federal states to automatically adjust its financial support again in the future if more asylum seekers come into the state. If significantly more people seeking protection come to Germany via the Mediterranean, via Belarus and from Turkey by November than in the past few months, the pressure on the federal government to give the federal states more money will continue to increase. This is a scenario that the FDP, among others, wants to avoid at all costs. That is why she emphasizes that the federal states must also make a contribution – for example through more efficiency in their immigration authorities and more staff for asylum complaint procedures at the administrative courts.

Source: Stern

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