German states and cities agree to accept thousands of Afghan refugees
On Wednesday, Germany’s federal government announced that it had evacuated around 500 people from Afghanistan, 202 of which were Afghans. Now, several German states and cities are offering to accommodate thousands of refugees from Afghanistan.
German states to take in Afghan refugees
North-Rhine Westphalia reportedly wants to take in 1.800 people from Afghanistan, which, according to the state chancellery in Düsseldorf, would include 800 Afghans who have worked in Germany recently and another 1.000 people working in civil rights, the arts and journalism, most of whom will be women. Similarly, Baden-Württemberg is expected to take in around 1.100 Afghan workers and their relatives.
Lower Saxony has confirmed it will provide accommodation for at least 400 people, Schleswig-Holstein is preparing to accept 300 women and children, whilst Hamburg said it would take in 200 people. Bremen’s interior minister, Ulrich Mäurer (SPD), said that the state would honour its previous promise to take in 150 local Afghan workers and their relatives. “Leaving them behind and now handing them over to the Taliban is out of the question,” he said. “We can talk about the allocation formula later.”
Several cities in Bavaria have also agreed to take in refugees, with the Mayor of Munich, Verena Dietl (SPD), saying that the city could take in 260 people whenever needed and without any red tape. Nuremberg and Regensburg have also made similar offers, as have plenty of smaller cities like Erlangen.
Fears of another refugee crisis
The topic of refugees and bringing them into Germany is a controversial one, especially since many Germans remember Angela Merkel’s “open door” policy in 2015, which sparked the rise of the far-right AfD party. Armin Laschet has already warned that “2015 should not be repeated,” in light of the upcoming federal election.
Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Thuringia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Saarland have all indicated their willingness to take in families from Afghanistan; however, no concrete figures for how many people each state can take in have been set. The city of Schwerin has said that the number of spaces it has available will be calculated in accordance with the allocation formula, and Rhineland-Palatinate has argued that half of its reception facilities are already occupied and cannot be expanded to full occupancy due to coronavirus.
The German government has already approved plans for 600 soldiers to be deployed in Kabul to help with the evacuation effort, which will cost Germany around 40 million euros.