Refugees from Ukraine: Cities want to expand social services

City council president Markus Lewe criticizes the abolition of most of the crown rules and wants to improve the state of refugees.

the March 20 it will not be a “Freedom Day” in Germany, but the core rules of the Crown are running out. In an interview with our editors, the president of the German Association of Cities and Mayor of Münster, Markus Lewe (CDU), explains why this irritates the municipalities.

The incidences of the crown increase, the protective measures decrease. Are you responsible, Mr. Lewe?

Markus Lewe: We all see in our personal environment how the number of infections is increasing. On the other hand, we know that the omicron variant rarely causes severe courses. It is therefore only fair to loosen the strict contact restrictions and 2G rules. But the next variant of the Deltakron virus is already in Germany and we don’t know if it’s more dangerous.

The new infection protection law shrinks the toolbox for states and municipalities to react quickly to the corona situation. A patchwork quilt is now to be feared. And it is very likely that soon the law will have to be corrected again.

What do you expect from the countries now?

Leo: Most countries want to extend existing regulations until April 2nd. Before this day, state parliaments are expected to decide whether they will allow additional protective measures, i.e. under certain conditions masks will still be mandatory in shops or in some areas of 3G or 2G life.

According to the law, such measures should only be possible in hotspots, whose whereabouts no one knows. The Infection Protection Act is complicated and imprecise. Therefore, countries must very quickly determine what applies when.

Does compulsory vaccination solve the biggest problems?

Leo: We must always rely on people’s personal responsibility. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send a clear message. We need vaccinations. It is everyone’s moral expectation, embodied in the legislation: We expect you to do your part to protect the elderly, the sick and our society as a whole.

Control difficulties must not prevent us from formulating clear expectations about the behavior of people in the laws. We do the same thing when there are speed limits on the roads.

How can the health of the many Ukrainians who flee us be protected?

Leo: City health authorities and even resident doctors have already begun to determine vaccination status and fill vaccination gaps. To make global progress, state health ministers must swiftly conclude framework agreements between states and health insurance coroners’ associations.

In the future, Ukrainian refugees will have to be included in the health insurance system. At the moment they only have rudimentary sanitary protection. This is because they receive help under the Asylum Seeker Benefits Act. We demand that people have access to the social benefits system of Book II of the Social Code, which applies to the unemployed. The federal government should reconsider its position here.

Will the municipalities be able to welcome and treat the victims of the war?

Leo: In the cities there is great solidarity with the people who fled Ukraine. And we, as a city, are obviously still ready to welcome refugees seeking refuge from this terrible war. However, the distribution of people in cities and regions needs to be improved. We have repeatedly made this clear in talks with federal and state governments in recent days. Furthermore, smart distribution in the European Union must be successful.

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The question of where the money for the supply should come from has been postponed by the federal and state governments to their latest summit. What regulation do you ask for?

Leo: The fact that the federal and state governments conceive the reception and care of refugees from Ukraine as a task for society as a whole and want to help them finance it is an important signal for the cities. The agreed federal-state working group must now pave the way for people care and integration offers that are to be funded for the most part by the federal and state governments.

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