Local leader calls on German government to take responsibility for migrant crisis crippling public services

Reinhard Sager, the president of the German District Association, claims the influx of migration is leading to rising social tensions

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Thomas Brooke
FILE - German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is flanked by Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration Reem Alabali-Radovan, left, and German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, right, during an immigration meeting "Germany, Immigration Country, Dialogue for Participation and Respect" in Berlin, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. (John MacDougall/Pool Photo via AP)

Local authorities have criticized Germany’s federal government for the insufficient support being made available to social services saturated by the recent influx of asylum applications.

An invitation by Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser to a summit due to take place in early March to discuss the ongoing issue of mass migration is not enough, according to Reinhard Sager, the president of the German District Association. Sager has called on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to take responsibility, limit migration levels, and tackle the issues local authorities are having to deal with in providing for refugees.

“There is a lack of apartments, daycare places, teachers for schools and language courses. This is one of the reasons why social tensions are increasing,” Sager warned on Monday.

In November, the federal government announced funding of €2.75 billion for this year to help local authorities handle new arrivals — €1.5 billion for Ukrainian refugees and €1.25 billion for those from other countries. However, Sager believes the pledge of financial support alone isn’t enough.

He called for “effective and direct support for the municipalities on the part of the federal government,” insisting that it is only the federal chancellor who has “overarching competence in all issues that affect us. After all, it is also about covering housing costs, healthcare costs, construction, and other issues.”

A total of 923,991 asylum applications were registered in the European Union last year, and 217,774 of those were made in Germany. That is the highest figure since the migration crisis of 2016 and does not include the million extra refugees who arrived from Ukraine.

The majority of asylum seekers claimed to arrive from Syria and Afghanistan, while Turkey, Iraq, and Georgia rounded out the top five nations of origin.

Toward the end of last year, 12 out of 16 German states activated a block on the federal distribution system to take in more newcomers, arguing their social services are too saturated to accommodate more arrivals.

Plans to rehouse arrivals in rural areas have been met with vociferous opposition from local residents, including recently in the German village of Upahl where the federal government wanted to offload 400 asylum seekers in a purpose-built container village. The town’s current population is just 1,662.

Local authorities calling for a halt on the increasing migratory flow would appear to be on the side of the electorate after a recent poll from the Tagesschau news outlet revealed 53 percent of Germans believe there are too many migrants arriving in the country.

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