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Association of cities and municipalities: equalize asylum seeker benefits

EU-wide regulation required
Association of cities and municipalities: equalize asylum seeker benefits

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The municipalities are increasingly overwhelmed with the accommodation and care of asylum seekers, warns the Association of Cities and Municipalities. Managing director Landsberg is calling for Europe-wide action because there is a risk of “splitting society”. Services should be standardized across Europe.

The German Association of Cities and Municipalities is calling for state asylum seeker benefits to be equalized, measured in terms of purchasing power, within the EU. “It is important to standardize benefits for refugees across Europe, measured in terms of purchasing power,” said managing director Gerd Landsberg to the “Rheinische Post”.

“In migration policy, we need big steps with real distribution across Europe, consistent controls at the EU's external borders and deportation of people whose applications have been legally rejected. We should concentrate on that,” he said. “In migration policy it's five to twelve.” The municipalities are largely overwhelmed and have reached their limits in terms of accommodation, care and integration. “This issue threatens to divide society,” warned Landsberg.

Landsberg was skeptical about the sometimes required switch from cash to benefits in kind for asylum seekers. “The switch to benefits in kind for all asylum seekers is difficult to implement, creates bureaucracy and does not do justice to those with prospects of staying.” According to the requirements of the Federal Constitutional Court, pocket money must be paid anyway. “The measure would hardly lead to a reduction in immigration numbers. Anyone fleeing persecution from Syria or Afghanistan does not make their decision to come to Germany dependent on this,” he said.

Work permit regardless of residence status

Meanwhile, the German Association of Cities spoke out in favor of immediate work permits for asylum seekers, regardless of their residence status. “The asylum and residence law must be changed accordingly and professional qualifications from the refugees’ home countries must be recognized more quickly and less bureaucratically,” said the general manager of the Association of Cities, Helmut Dedy, to the “Rheinische Post”.

Then there would be a “win-win situation for all sides,” Dedy continued. “Integration into the labor market also strengthens social integration. At the same time, we would do something about the shortage of skilled workers and cities would be relieved of social spending if refugees are in work.” This is also important for social acceptance of refugees.

The leader of the Green Party in the Bundestag, Britta Haßelmann, also called for a quick work permit for asylum seekers. In addition, further barriers to obtaining a work permit must be removed, she told the “Rheinische Post”. “Our economy, crafts and industry in particular benefit from this. Because they are all desperately looking for workers and skilled workers who are missing everywhere.”

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