The starting point for the federal-state summit on migration was already difficult. Then a new barrel was opened. But there is a success to report on another topic.
Agreement on more speed in planning construction measures, but dispute over reducing the number of refugees: These are the interim results of the most important federal-state summit since the corona pandemic until the evening. At the start of their discussions, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and the state prime ministers agreed to speed up planning and approval procedures so that wind turbines, power lines, railway lines and apartments can be built more quickly.
There was progress in the future financial planning for the Deutschlandticket.
There was already a lot of trouble at the preparatory meeting of the states on the subject of migration. The trigger was a new catalog of demands that the states governed by the CDU and CSU presented together with the Green Party Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann. The SPD states reacted angrily. The discussions were “not really refreshing,” said Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD).
Beforehand, everyone actually agreed that the federal and state governments, the government and the opposition, had to somehow pull together to curb irregular migration – also in order to take the wind out of the AfD’s sails. Things went wrong at the start.
Surprising advance by Union countries and Kretschmann
The federal states led by the CDU, CSU and the Greens surprisingly jointly campaigned for asylum procedures outside Europe and thus supported a corresponding proposal from North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU).
Weil made it clear that the SPD-led states could only have imagined this for transit states, i.e. for countries through which migrants pass. According to the wishes of the states, the federal government should now examine this possibility. A Rwandan model, however, was unimaginable, says Weil – an allusion to British plans. The government in London wants people who have entered Britain irregularly to be detained regardless of their origin and without examining their asylum application and deported to Rwanda as soon as possible, where they should then also apply for asylum. There are no plans to return to Great Britain.
Because of the dispute over money, negotiations are expected to last into the night
However, there was agreement among the states that they wanted more money from the federal government to accommodate refugees. “We states have made a very clear proposal. We are very united on the issue,” said the chairman of the Prime Minister’s Conference, the Hessian Prime Minister Boris Rhein (CDU).
This year, the states paid around 18 billion euros and the municipalities around five billion euros for refugees. “That’s why we believe that there is an imbalance that needs to be overcome. And we will now discuss this with the federal government and come to decisions,” emphasized Rhein. Limiting immigration is an original task of the federal government.
Because of the dispute over money, negotiations were expected to last late into the night. The countries want 10,500 euros per refugee and per year. The federal government only wants to give 5,000. You have to come to an agreement in between.
The countries agreed on the goal of limiting migration and tightening asylum law. Family reunification with so-called people entitled to subsidiary protection – often civil war refugees – should be “temporarily limited except for cases of particular hardship”. The coalition agreement between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP actually provides for an expansion here.
According to the states, the asylum procedures for people from countries where less than 5 percent receive protection in this country should be completed in three months in the future, and a possible legal action against a decision should be completed in another three months. For everyone else, a target of a maximum of six months should apply. A payment card should be available for services to asylum seekers.
The conference of interior ministers should also examine how serious criminals and violent criminals in particular can be better deported – and whether it would be easier to withdraw their protection in Germany in the future.
Acceleration pact is in place
To this end, Scholz and the Prime Minister agreed on an acceleration pact. It’s about “not having another politician say that everything should get faster, but rather that it actually happens,” said Scholz.
In the last few decades, the federal and state governments have invented more and more regulations “with great love and affection.” These should now be simplified. The package includes around 100 individual regulations, including on motorways and train routes, the construction of apartments, the expansion of attics and the installation of cell phone masts. Further simplifications, for example in the healthcare system and the hydrogen industry, should follow, Scholz announced.
The head of the Hesse government, Boris Rhein (CDU), emphasized: “I am very pleased that we are united as a federal and state government, and that is important in federalism.” When it comes to building, among other things, a lot of things will be made easier. Type approvals for serial construction, once granted, should be valid nationwide. Conversion and expansion of apartments will no longer fail due to car parking spaces. A wind turbine can be replaced by another in the same location without approval.
Because: “We are too complicated in Germany”
Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) emphasized: “We are too complicated in Germany, so everything takes too long, and that of course makes it even more expensive in the end.” Now things should become easier and therefore cheaper. Environmental associations had previously sharply criticized the federal-state plans. They fear that it could be at the expense of nature if regulations for environmental impact assessments and species protection are changed.
Further steps to secure your Germany ticket
The federal and state governments agreed on further steps to finance the Deutschlandticket in local transport. Funds not used this year should therefore be able to be used in 2024 to compensate for financial disadvantages from the ticket, as the German Press Agency learned from participants from the federal and state governments during discussions on Monday evening in Berlin. In addition, the transport ministers should be commissioned to present a concept for implementing the ticket from 2024. The current price of 49 euros per month, which was described as the “introductory price” from the outset, also comes into focus.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.