The German Government is going to have to find savings of half a billion euros to spend on housing the thousands of migrants who have come to the country, the country’s Finance Minister has said.
German tabloid Bild says that Wolfgang Schäuble is planning a “mini-austerity” to raise the money to deal with the migrant influx, with the country bracing for around 40,000 new arrivals within the space of days.
Schäuble wants all ministries to take part, although each will be free to set its own targets. He told the German parliament last week that tackling the migrant crisis was an “absolute priority”, although he was keen to stress that the government wants to create “no new debt”.
The German Taxpayers Association also made it clear it did not want higher taxes or public debt to pay for the migrants. It welcomed Schäuble’s announcement by saying: “Finally, cutbacks are in the federal budget!”
Chancellor Angela Merkel has faced increasing criticism for opening Germany up to migrants. Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec lashed out at her policy yesterday, tweeting: “Currently the biggest problem in solving migration policy is an inconsistent Germany. Even showing muscles to neighbours across the border will not hide it!”
The country is now considering blocking all trains travelling over the Austrian border after admitting it now cannot cope with the unprecedented influx. Interior Minister Thomas de Maziere said that new measures were needed for security reasons, adding: “The aim of these measures is to limit the current inflows to Germany and to return to orderly procedures when people enter the country.”
“This step became necessary. The great willingness to help that Germany has shown in recent weeks – by full-time employees and especially by the many thousands of volunteers – must not be overstrained,” de Maiziere said.
The European Commission said in a statement: “The German decision of today underlines the urgency to agree on the measures proposed by the European Commission in order to manage the refugee crisis.”