Refugees: After summit: Scholz relies on consensus on migration

It’s an experiment: the chancellor, the states and the opposition leader are looking for a common line on an issue that moves the republic like no other – and gives the right a boost.

After the migration summit in the Chancellery, Chancellor Olaf Scholz expressed confidence that his traffic light government would find common solutions with the states and the opposition on the issue. “We had a good conversation yesterday in the Chancellery,” said Scholz at an SPD meeting in his constituency in Teltow near Potsdam. “This should be an issue where we solve problems together and don’t all point fingers at each other. I think our country deserves that and that’s what the citizens want too.”

Federal, state and opposition “on a common path”

“I think it is now important that there is speed in solving the questions,” said Rhein as the new chairman of the Prime Minister’s Conference. He is in favor of a “all-in-one” migration package. The Chancellery said they agreed “that democrats must stick together and defend democracy.” The federal, state and opposition governments have “set out on a common path”.

Merz praised the “good atmosphere” of the conversation in the ZDF “heute journal”: “We agree on the goal, and the next few days and weeks will show whether we agree on the path.”

Community association doubts about faster asylum procedure

The Association of Cities and Municipalities has fundamentally welcomed politicians’ efforts to develop a different migration policy, but questions some of the measures proposed by the states. General Manager Gerd Landsberg doubted on Deutschlandfunk that the asylum procedure could really be shortened to three months and that switching services to a payment card would help limit immigration.

At the same time, he regretted that the prime ministers had not spoken out in favor of expanding the number of safe countries of origin. There is a simplified asylum procedure for their nationals. Landsberg called for the North African Maghreb states and India to be classified accordingly.

In principle, however, he praised the efforts of the federal and state governments: “It’s good that there is now movement in migration policy. This was certainly due to the results of the state elections, but also the obvious excessive demands on the municipalities.”

SPD leader: Don’t play games with the migration pact

The SPD chairman Lars Klingbeil has called on the Union to work constructively to find a solution to the migration problem. “We are extending our hand. No games can be played there now. We share responsibility for this country,” he told the newspapers of the Funke media group.

The CDU Prime Ministers of Hesse and Schleswig-Holstein, Boris Rhein and Daniel Günther, would not support the harsh course of CDU leader Friedrich Merz. “I am therefore confident that we will also find solutions with the Union-led countries.”

The invitation came after the shift to the right in Hesse and Bavaria

Scholz had invited people to the meeting after the state elections in Hesse and Bavaria. All of the traffic light parties had suffered some dramatic losses, while the AfD won significantly and came third in Bavaria and even second in Hesse. The shift to the right was largely attributed to dissatisfaction with migration policy. Between the beginning of January and the end of September, 233,744 people in Germany applied for asylum for the first time, around 73 percent more than in the same period last year.

Shortly before the elections, Scholz said for the first time that, in his opinion, too many refugees were coming to Germany. Even before that, he had offered the states and the “democratic opposition” a “Germany Pact” to advance reforms in Germany. By this he not only meant curbing irregular migration, but also other issues such as reducing bureaucracy.

Cautious approach at dinner

Yesterday’s conversation focused entirely on migration. In addition to Scholz, Rhein, Weil and Merz, Chancellor Wolfgang Schmidt (SPD) was also at the dinner in the Chancellor’s apartment on the eighth floor of the government headquarters. “First of all, we got along well this evening,” Weil then described the atmosphere. “And I think we are so close to each other on this matter that something can come of it.”

All sides agreed that the meeting can only be a first step on the way to a meeting between the Chancellor and all Prime Ministers in Berlin on November 6th. Then there should be an oath. The most difficult question then needs to be clarified: financing the admission of refugees, for which the states are demanding additional billions from the federal government. But other questions should also be clarified by then. On November 6th “things will be finalized… including finances,” said Rhein.

All sides have put their cards on the table

The federal, state and Union governments have now put their cards on the table for further discussions. Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) had already presented the basic principles of a bill on Wednesday that aims to reduce the number of deportations that fail at the last moment. In addition, the immigration authorities should be relieved by extended deadlines.

Yesterday, immediately before the round in the Chancellery, the states agreed on a list of demands aimed at the federal government. In it, they demand that effective measures be taken to speed up the asylum process, that unauthorized entries be prevented, for example through stationary border controls at the borders with the Czech Republic and Poland, and that the conditions be created for the introduction of a nationwide uniform payment card for asylum seekers. “The measures taken so far are not yet sufficient to limit irregular migration,” it says in the joint resolution.

After the round in the Chancellery, the Union also presented a list of demands with 26 points. In it, Scholz demands, among other things, a “common understanding” that “Germany can tolerate asylum immigration of up to a maximum of 200,000 people per year with a view to the integration infrastructure and social cohesion.” Against this background, there must be a government statement from the Chancellor with the signal: “Germany’s absorption capacities have been exhausted.”


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