Municipalities have long been sounding the alarm that they are reaching their limits when it comes to accommodating refugees. The topic has now also come up on the BR programme "jetzt red i" in the Marthabräuhalle in Bruck.
Please smile: Minister of Social Affairs Ulrike Scharf (photo above, left) and Bavaria's Green Party leader Thomas von Sarnowski in the Marthabräu Arena in Bruck. © Peter Weber
Fürstenfeldbruck – The citizens' programme of Bavarian Television made a stop at the Marthabräuhalle, where 80 visitors had the opportunity to join in the discussion. "Refugees in Bavaria – How can integration succeed?", moderator Tilmann Schöberl also wanted to know from the panelists, the Bavarian Minister of Social Affairs Ulrike Scharf (CSU) and the Green Party state chairman Thomas von Sarnowski.
Arena-shaped spectator seats, spotlights, cameras, the "jetzt red i" lettering in large letters above the podium – for the one-hour live broadcast, the Marthabräuhalle was transformed into a TV studio. In a good-humoured briefing, moderator Schöberl swore the audience to the requirements of a live broadcast ("look reasonably interested, don't sleep – we can't cut anything out") and asked that speeches be kept within time limits.
And that's what it was all about: In the first quarter of 2023, around 16,000 first-time asylum applications were filed in Bavaria. In 2022, there were around 20,500 – in the whole year. In addition, there were 152,000 Ukrainian war refugees. Many municipalities no longer know where to accommodate the refugees. There is a lack of language and integration courses, daycare places and teachers. "We are at the limit of what we can do," said Mammendorf's Deputy Mayor Peter Muck.
Next big question: Why do asylum procedures take so long?
On the other hand, the fact that asylum procedures take too long has been mentioned on several occasions. A film produced before the broadcast illustrated this with the example of a man from Tanzania who lives in the accommodation at the air base and has been waiting for six years for a decision on whether he will be allowed to stay.
The fact that people are condemned to inactivity during their proceedings was criticized by a spectator, especially in view of the shortage of skilled workers. "We have a huge potential of people who are not allowed to work." In her opinion, it would make more sense to use this "than to fly to Brazil".
Around 80 citizens were in the Marthabräuhalle and asked questions to the politicians. © Peter Weber
"Integration works best when you give people work," confirmed a master painter from Gräfelfinger from experience. Frustration prevails in the skilled trades over a jungle of bureaucracy that does not always make it clear whether someone is allowed to be employed or not. Excessive bureaucracy and poor communication on the part of the authorities are causing frustration in the helper circles, criticized a volunteer from Mittelstetten.
Scharf: Integration can only succeed if immigration is limited
The accusation may be "justified here and there," admitted District Administrator Thomas Karmasin. But official resources would also be tied up by the fact that "300,000 rejected people are still there nationwide." Social Affairs Minister Scharf was convinced that integration could only succeed if immigration was limited. A preliminary check at Europe's external borders could help to reject people with no prospect of asylum from the outset.
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The Green Party chairman von Sarnowski would like to see a joint European approach with binding distribution mechanisms in order to distribute the burden more fairly. "Talk to us, not about us," refugees from the audience pleaded.
A helper received applause for his appeal to morality and humanity. Anyone who watches idly from the shore as someone drowns in a lake is rightly accused of failing to provide assistance. "But it has never been considered whether the European governments will be indicted. Hundreds are drowning in the Mediterranean."