After the postponement of the refugee summit, the districts in Brandenburg are pressing for rapid help from the federal and state governments. “The possibilities are becoming increasingly scarce, are limited and are coming to an end,” said the chairman of the district council, District Administrator Siegurd Heinze (independent) of the German Press Agency. “This is wasted time passing here.” He warned: “With eyes wide open we are running back into a situation like it was in 2015/16.” The help is particularly necessary for accommodation, daycare centers, schools and medical care.

After taking in around 39,000 refugees last year – mainly from Ukraine – 26,000 refugees are expected for the municipalities this year. That would be about as many as in 2015, the year of the so-called refugee crisis. The red-black-green state government has not yet agreed on a package of measures beyond additional funds from an aid package. That is why Interior Minister Michael Stübgen (CDU) postponed the district council conference, which was supposed to talk about how to deal with refugees.

The head of the district council sees great time pressure. “We already said last fall: If the numbers continue like this, then at some point in 2023 we run the risk of no longer being able to cope,” said Heinze. When asked if there was still time to look for solutions, he said: “No. But at least one or the other member of the state government seems to see it differently or interpret it differently.” Above all, he sees the federal government on the train and accused it of “playing for time”.

The Minister of the Interior had met with sharp criticism from the SPD and the Greens with a number of proposals. Stübgen wants to create around 3,000 more places in the initial reception locations: 1,700 new places are to be created in Eisenhüttenstadt, 800 in Frankfurt (Oder) and 500 in Wünsdorf. According to the plans, refugees without a foreseeable prospect of staying should come to a state care facility.

“That fully meets our considerations,” said Heinze. The Ministry of the Interior has also included proposals from the district council. The plans were basically coordinated with the central associations of the municipalities. The specific design is a matter for the Ministry of the Interior. But: “Of course you have to talk to the respective municipalities, but obviously there wasn’t time for that.”

The districts also support Stübgen’s plan to differentiate more strongly according to the perspective of staying. If refugees first arrive in the municipalities and after a process begins to send them back home, it drags on. Stübgen had warned of a collapse and called for a “brake on migration”. Integration Minister Ursula Nonnemacher (Greens) pointed out the humanitarian obligation to help people fleeing war and persecution.