Olaf Scholz. Photo: DPA
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has announced plans to cut refugee and asylum seeker integration funding by just under a third ahead of 2020, drawing criticism from both sides of the political spectrum.
In a bid to reduce government expenditure, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has announced plans to reduce refugee funding by €1.3 billion from 2020, bringing it down from the current €4.7 billion budget, reported DPA.
Scholz’s budget plans have drawn criticism from across the political spectrum. While refugee advocates have argued that the cuts undermine integration efforts, conservative local councils have also been critical of the budgetary reforms.
Under German law local councils bear the responsibility of refugee integration, however these efforts have up until this point been largely funded by the federal government.
Scholz said the goal is to streamline the way in which asylum claims are funded, thereby reducing administrative costs. As it currently stands, the government pays a €670 flat rate for each asylum seeker to cover costs associated with integration and accommodation.
Instead, the new plan is set to involve a one-off payment of €16,000 to cover the first five years after arrival.
Scholz defended the move, saying that the budget allocations which are set to end in 2019 were already supposed to expire in 2018, but were subject to a one-year extension.
On the whole, the budget is set to raise Germany’s total spending by just under two percent to €363 billion.