Refugees from Ukraine: Faeser wants more EU solidarity

Berlin / Brussels (dpa) – After four weeks of war, the federal government still has difficulty in estimating the extent of the flight movement from Ukraine to Germany. Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) pushes for greater European solidarity in Brussels.

However, there will likely be no fixed quotas for the distribution of people fleeing the war of Russian aggression in Ukraine in the European Union.

“It is still not entirely clear how many Ukrainian women, men and children will seek refuge with us. All we know is that there will be many, “Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) told the Bundestag. Furthermore, it is not yet known how many war refugees are already in Germany. The reception and accommodation of these people is responsibility of federal states The federal government is also involved in the distribution.

“We still don’t have data on how many will actually remain in which federal state,” said Federal Interior Ministry spokesman Maximilian Kall. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) does not yet have an overview of how many war refugees reside in the first reception facilities.

238,932 war refugees in Germany

According to reports from the Federal Ministry of the Interior, since the beginning of the Russian attack on Ukraine, the Federal Police have warned of the arrival of
238,932 war refugees identified. However, Ukrainians can enter the country without a visa: the number of people who arrived is therefore probably higher overall. Furthermore, it is not recorded how many refugees travel from Germany to friends or relatives in other countries. After more than 10,000 newly arrived war refugees were identified the previous week, the federal police recorded about 7,000 new arrivals in each of the past two days.

“We are now working intensively on building additional hubs together with Poland and France to allow for the distribution of refugees to other EU countries,” Faeser said in Brussels after a conversation with EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson. France has promised to welcome the refugees and distribute them through Lyon, Bordeaux and Dijon. Deutsche Bahn is in contact with the French railway SNCF regarding rail connections. Until this is established, buses will be used. The EU has decided that all Member States should guarantee temporary protection to war refugees together, in a swift and unbureaucratic way. “Now everyone has to implement it together,” Faeser pointed out.

However, the European Commission has clearly rejected requests for a mandatory key for the distribution of refugees from Ukraine to EU states. People who sought protection under the Mass Inflow of Displaced People Directive would be allowed to move freely throughout the EU. It will not be decided where they should settle. However, EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson has put an index into play as a basis for a possible distribution, which should show the burden on individual countries. This should take into account, for example, how many people from Ukraine have already been admitted to individual countries and how many people would have requested asylum in 2021.

Faeser welcomed this approach. When it comes to the issue of the distribution of people, it must be concrete on Monday in the extraordinary meeting of EU interior ministers. “I think we need, above all, the firm commitment of all the European countries that register”.

Union: make admission “a matter for the boss”.

The deputy leader of the trade union faction, Dorothee Bär (CSU), criticized the fact that the federal government was not prepared to coordinate the admission of those people “seeking protection from bombs”. Bär said: “Mr. Scholz, I expect you to make this a top priority.” The fact that it has not yet been possible to register here the refugees arriving and the people who collect them is a “loss of control”.

In order to ensure greater security for refugees, the possibility has been created to register accommodation providers on the website wohnung-ukraine.org, announced the Federal Ministry of Interior. Refugees can only be picked up after they have been identified on the spot by presenting their identity card. Federal and state police authorities are vigilant to prevent possible cases of exploitation related to the refugee situation. “So far, however, there is no confirmed information on concrete cases of suspected human trafficking or exploitation of Ukrainian women arriving in Germany,” a spokesperson said on request.

According to the UN refugee agency, some 3.6 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the war. No other country has welcomed as many Ukrainian refugees as neighboring Poland, where more than 2.17 million refugees have arrived, according to border guards. There is no official information on how many of the war refugees remained in Poland and how many have already traveled to other EU countries. Ukraine – the largest country in Europe by area – had a population of over 44 million before the Russian attack began.

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