Saturday, December 23, 2017

German communities should be paid for taking in refugees

Berlin’s immigration policy
Local communities should be appropriately paid for taking in refugees to reduce social tensions, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said, adding that Germany is becoming “a land of desire” like the US was in the 19th century.

Municipalities that take in refugees should receive incentives for doing so, particularly through government funding, Gabriel told German media, as cited by Die Zeit. He added that local communities should “decide for themselves how many refugees they receive.”

In particular, the plan envisions communities being reimbursed for money spent on integration, plus the same amount for the needs of its residents.

Gabriel argued that the payments could help boost approval for Berlin’s immigration policy, which has come under fire over the past two years in the wake of the refugee crisis. “Acting this way, we can also prevent the citizens from getting the impression that everything is being done for the refugees and nothing for them,” he said.

Local authorities should not have to make hard choices on whether to integrate refugees or renovate a swimming pool, the influential Social Democrat said. He also believes the practice should go beyond national boundaries and become commonplace elsewhere in Europe. “The EU could set up a program to help local communities in poorer member states to fund it.”

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