The incoming coalition of the Green Party, Social Democrats (SPD) and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) is already running into serious disagreements, with one major sticking point regarding how much money asylum seekers should be paid through Germany’s benefits system.
Christian Lindner, the leader of the FDP, has already harshly criticized his partners on tax policy and rental caps. However, benefits for asylum seekers remains a major sticking point, with the Greens and the FDP far apart, according to Bild.
The right to asylum in Germany is regulated in Article 16a (1) of the Basic Law, which stipulates that politically persecuted people therefore enjoy the right of asylum. According to the Federal Statistical Office, a little more than 1.85 million so-called protection seekers were living in Germany in 2020.
However, the Greens want to take a major step and abolish the so-called Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. That means that Asylum seekers would then gain access to Germany’s standard welfare benefit scheme, known as Hartz IV, and be eligible for the standard rate of €446 euros per person. Currently, under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act, those seeking protection receive a maximum of €364 per person for “necessary needs”. Furthermore, the Greens are calling for asylum seekers to have a full right to all medical services that social welfare recipients are entitled to
The FDP rejects all of this, according to the report. The is generally seen as a pro-migrant party, with key politicians already controversially calling for half a million migrants a year. However, the party is also economically liberal, and wants to attract highly-skilled immigrants and shy away from asylum seekers from the Middle East who typically feature less education and job skills.
Germany has spent tens of billions on integration for migrants with limited results. In 2020, Germany pledged to spend €64 billion on migrants over the next four years. The majority of refugees in Germany need state support.
Germany has also paid enormous costs for training, employing and integrating refugees. In 2018, the German government spent a record €23 billion on migrants, including rent subsidies, jobless payments, language lessons, and other benefits. That figure does not account for what individual states spent either, with Hamburg’s government releasing data showing it spent €5.35 billion on asylum seekers between 2015 and the end of 2019.
CSU rejects higher benefits
Other politicians are wading into the debate on social benefits for migrants, with Christian Socialist Union (CSU) regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt speaking out against increasing social benefits for asylum seekers.
“An expansion of benefits for asylum seekers increases the incentive to come to Germany and additionally intensifies the secondary migration of asylum seekers within Europe,” warned the member of the Bundestag on Tuesday.
Germany’s generous social welfare system is not suitable for controlling and limiting migration and actually encourages more migrants to come, he noted.
“Europe does not need a new stimulus, but a clear roadmap to protect its external borders, prevent illegal migration and curb secondary migration in Europe,” explained Dobrindt.
He received approval from his party colleague, Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann. The CSU politician pointed out that Germany already pays migrants high social benefits compared to other European countries.
“The European asylum law must also achieve a greater harmonization of social benefits,” Herrmann added.
Furthermore, he advocated reviewing and amending the amount of benefits for asylum seekers who are scheduled for deportation.
Last year, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politician and German Interior Minister for the state of Saaraland Klaus Bouillon said that migrants are already receiving better benefits than German citizens. His extensive criticisms of Germany’s migration and benefits system were covered by Remix News.
“There is great discontent among the population because everyone who arrives here immediately has many or even more rights along with rights to benefits and medical care than someone who has worked here for their entire life,” said Bouillon.
Foreign criticism of Germany’s welfare system
This week, Greece’s minister of migration, Notis Mitarachi, criticized Western European nations for their high benefits for migrants, which he says serve as a pull factor.
“If they make it to Germany, Austria, or Sweden, they are entitled to benefits that even exceed Greek salaries,” said Mitarachi.
The Greek minister indicated that much of Greece’s migrant crisis has to do with migrants using his country as a transit zone to reach countries further in the West.
“The problem is that you are attracting these people through Greece, and I don’t want to be the gateway to Europe,” said Mitarachi.