A shared task for federal and state governments

Refugee summit at the Federal Chancellery A shared task for federal and state governments

In response to the rising numbers of refugees, the federal and state governments are to put together a package of measures, said the Chancellor at the refugee summit held at the Federal Chancellery. To accelerate asylum proceedings, staffing levels are to be raised at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

Chancellor Angela Merkel walks to the press conference beside Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere and Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.

Representatives of the federal and state governments met at the Federal Chancellery to discuss policy on asylum and refugees

Photo: Bundesregierung/Plambeck

At the summit meeting representatives of the federal and state governments discussed how to share the burden of the dramatically rising number of requests for asylum between federal, state and municipal levels. After the talks, Chancellor Angela Merkel reported that the discussions had reflected the awareness that federal and state governments see the challenge as a shared task.

Common package of measures

"That is why we will be working together on a new package of measures," said Angela Merkel. "The spirit in which our talks were held has convinced me that together we can master the challenges ahead. This was the start, but a great deal of work lies ahead of us," added the Chancellor. The conference of state premiers on 18 June in Berlin will decide on the package of measures.

One pivotal issue discussed, reported the Chancellor, was how to provide swift assistance to those whose application for asylum will very probably be approved. At the same time she advocated swifter processing of applications that obviously have no prospects of being accepted.

"We will find a solution"

"Everything we do entails additional costs. Now we have to talk money too. We have not yet discussed who is to pay for what. But we will find a solution. That is our message today," said Angela Merkel.

Various packages of measures will also be discussed at European level. Europe needs a solution based on solidarity, said Angela Merkel. At national level, Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière will be conducting further talks with the federal states and local authorities.

More than 400,000 requests for asylum forecast

Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière explained the latest forecast published by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). The German government expects to receive more than 400,000 requests for asylum by the end of the year – twice as many as in 2014. It is difficult to predict the numbers of asylum seekers from the Western Balkan states, said Thomas de Maizière.

Up to 2,000 more staff for BAMF

In future, a greater distinction is to be made between applicants: between those who have good prospects of being granted asylum or protected status in Germany, and those coming from countries considered safe, making it likely they will have to leave Germany.

To this end, different procedures and different facilities should be adopted for refugees from the Balkan states in particular, stated Thomas de Maizière. To ensure that applications are processed more swiftly up to 2,000 more jobs are to be created at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, including "750 before the end of this budget year", i.e. before the end of 2015.

Germany strong and compassionate

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel made it quite clear that Germany "faces an enormous challenge". But he declared himself optimistic, that "we will master it" and that Germany will show itself to be a strong and compassionate country.

The Vice-Chancellor stressed that this is a "shared responsibility" for federal, state and municipal governments. Political players must not "give the impression that those responsible are trying to blame one another".

Talks on asylum- and refugee-related issues were held today at the Federal Chancellery.

The talks were attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, Head of the Federal Chancellery Peter Altmaier, Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration, Minister of State Aydan Özoğuz, the Chairman of the Executive Board of the Federal Employment Agency Frank Weise, the President of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) Manfred Schmidt, and representatives of the federal states.

Municipal or local authorities are part of the state government of the individual federal states. Their interests are represented by the federal states in talks between the state and federal governments.