A number of Ukrainian refugees are gaming the system and exploiting the German welfare state to obtain benefits before traveling back to their homeland, according to CDU Chairman Friedrich Merz.
Speaking to Bild TV, the German politician highlighted the problem that he claimed is “only getting bigger” and accused the government of choosing to ignore the warnings heeded by Germany’s opposition party back in the spring.
“We are now experiencing social tourism from these refugees ‐ to Germany, back to Ukraine, to Germany, back to Ukraine,” he told Bild.
“We have a problem there, it’s getting bigger. We pointed out in the spring that this problem could arise. However, the federal government “played deaf,” said Merz.
The opposition leader spoke of “a larger number” who are now “taking advantage of this system.”
According to data provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, over 1 million Ukrainian refugees have now been processed in Germany, many of whom have traveled to the country after crossing the border into Poland and Czechia.
Once in Germany, Ukrainian refugees have an immediate right to a monthly basic security payment, according to the Junge Freiheit newspaper reporting on the story.
Leaders of the parties in Germany’s federal coalition, including Ricarda Lang of the German Greens, accused Merz of a lack of solidarity with Ukraine, and refused to recognize the “social tourism” he referred to, instead describing their actions as “people fleeing this terrible war of aggression.”