Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer has repeatedly called for tougher action for asylum seekers. He is also thinking of amending the constitution.
Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) wants to fundamentally change the asylum law in Germany and does not rule out a constitutional change. "It is high time for courageous decisions," Kretschmer told the newspaper Die Welt. To this end, he proposed the formation of a commission in which different political and social groups would be represented. Kretschmer had recently made similar statements in an interview with the Münchner Merkur.
Kretschmer adds: "Tensions and 'frustrations' over refugee policy"
"This commission is working on a proposal that the federal and state governments can rally behind and which could also include an amendment to the Basic Law," Kretschmer continued. "We need stronger instruments and effective agreements for the repatriation of rejected asylum seekers and illegal immigrants," said Kretschmer, calling for a tough stance on refugee policy. The committee should deal with the level of social benefits for refugees, which are very different in Europe.
The Prime Minister cited growing "tensions" and "frustrations" in Germany. "This is not going to end well if we let things go on like this," he warned. At present, the number of people coming to Germany is "simply too large". Schools and kindergartens are overloaded, there are no apartments and not enough language courses.
Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer is proposing a new asylum law. © Sebastian Kahnert/dpa
Kretschmer's statements "accelerant"? According to the FDP, constitutional amendment would have no effect
Kretschmer's words led to fierce criticism. The Prime Minister's words were "rhetorical accelerants in an already overheated debate," wrote Left Party MP Clara Anne Bünger on Twitter. "As a result, there will be more hatred against people who are identified as refugees." Kretschmer is therefore a danger to our democracy." The CDU politician must ask himself "whether he is still on the ground of the Basic Law," Bünger also told Die Welt.
FDP politician Stephan Thomae pointed out in the paper that of the approximately 228,000 asylum decisions in 2022, only 0.8 percent of cases had been granted asylum under Article 16a of the Basic Law. The vast majority of recognitions were made on the basis of the Geneva Refugee Convention. This shows that an amendment to the Basic Law would have "practically no effect". "What is important is a more consistent differentiation between people who are really politically persecuted or fleeing war and civil war, and those who are not," Thomae said.
AfD welcomes Kretschmer's asylum proposal
AfD leader Tino Chrupalla, on the other hand, welcomed Kretschmer's initiative. "The fundamental right to asylum should be put up for negotiation if it no longer works in the interests of German citizens," he also told Die Welt. Chrupalla, however, accused Kretschmer of wanting to "score" points before the state elections in Saxony next year by copying the demands of the AfD.
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Kretschmer has also attracted attention in the past with similar statements. "We need fences and we also need walls," Kretschmer said in 2011 in view of the refugees who had to endure between the Polish and Belarusian borders. (erpe/AFP)