Municipalities expect more than 100,000 refugees

Germany is also expecting a larger number of people. First, the refugees would reach the neighboring countries of Poland or Romania. “However, it can be assumed that in the foreseeable future significantly more than 100,000 people will also arrive in Germany,” said the general manager of the association of cities and municipalities, Gerd Landsberg, the Handelsblatt.

The first war refugees arrived in the Federal Republic at the weekend, but their number was initially relatively small. Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) said on Sunday evening after a meeting with her EU colleagues: “All EU states are ready to take in war refugees from Ukraine. This is a strong European response to the terrible suffering that (President Vladimir) Putin is causing with his criminal war of aggression.”

Meanwhile, the FDP is campaigning for a refugee summit to coordinate the admission of refugees. “The convening of a crisis summit in Germany would be an important step in coordinating the coming challenges together with the federal, state and local governments,” said the parliamentary director of the FDP parliamentary group, Stephan Thomae, the Handelsblatt.

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Even if in the current situation it is not yet clear how long the flow of refugees will last, precautions must be taken now to accommodate women and children in particular. “Spontaneous accommodation with families and friends is not a long-term solution for people,” said the FDP domestic politician.

The federal and state governments should cover refugee costs

However, the Union points out that accommodation options in the federal states were already limited before the escalation in Ukraine. “We now need a quick and reliable inventory and a continuously updated situation picture of the capacities available nationwide,” said parliamentary group vizin Andrea Lindholz (CSU) to the Handelsblatt.

>> Read also: US wants ‘invasion of Ukraine to become a strategic mistake for Putin’

The local political spokesman for the SPD, Bernhard Daldrup, warned that action should be “well prepared but not hasty”. If there are larger flows of refugees, some of them will certainly want to go to Germany, he said. But how the people are distributed is unclear at the moment, so a refugee summit is too early. It is important that the Federal Ministry of the Interior communicates closely with the federal states, and these in turn exchange information with the municipalities and the central municipal associations.

The municipalities and the real estate industry warned to hurry in order to prepare themselves for larger refugee movements from the Ukraine. “In a first step, it is now the task of the federal and state governments, together with the municipalities, to make the necessary preparations for receiving and caring for the refugees,” said Landsberg, head of the Association of Cities. “A refugee summit involving other actors should then follow promptly in a second step.”

The central association of the real estate industry ZIA wrote to Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) with the request that a refugee summit be held due to the upcoming challenges. “There are already crisis-related inquiries about the provision of apartments and social initiatives from our housing companies,” said ZIA President Andreas Mattner. “We have to prepare now for the growing need for accommodation and housing, as our situation is already tense.”

This is how the Handelsblatt reports on the developments in the Ukraine war:

According to Landsberg, the cities and municipalities are ready to take in, care for and integrate people within the scope of their possibilities. “In addition to accommodation and food, the necessary measures also include daycare places and the provision of teaching opportunities in schools,” said the head of the association of cities.

“However, we expect that the federal states will also put their initial reception facilities back into operation and organize the distribution of the arriving people,” added Landsberg. The costs of this “challenge for society as a whole” would have to be borne permanently by the federal and state governments.

The refugee costs could burden public budgets for several years. The European Union is already preparing to grant war refugees from Ukraine the right to stay for up to three years.

The EU interior ministers want to meet again on Thursday to agree on the details. This concerns the EU directive on granting temporary protection, which was drawn up after the war in the Balkans in the 1990s but has not yet been applied. According to Faeser, refugees from Ukraine do not have to go through an asylum procedure.

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