Migrants and asylum seekers cost Germany’s federal government €21.7 billion in 2016, according to a Finance Ministry report.
The official figures, published Friday, show that €9.3 billion went to help states and municipalities cope with funding the living cost of the influx of more than a million people who arrived since 2015.
Other outlays by the federal government relating to the migrant wave include €7.1 billion spent on foreign aid, €1.4 billion on migrants’ reception, registration, and accommodation, and €2.1 billion on integration services.
Despite the significant expense on migrants, the Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung notes that the federal government managed to maintain a budget surplus for the third year in a row.
In addition, the head of the German Institute for Economic Research told the newspaper that the economy benefits from the influx of people from the third world, more than two thirds of whom cannot read or write.
Ferdinand Fichtner described the €20 billion outlay as a “huge stimulus package” and said that money spent on migrants’ food along with their accommodation costs will have flowed into the German economy. “This applies to 90 per cent of the expenditure,” he stated.
This latest data, which details just the amount spent by the federal government, only really scratches the surface with regards to revealing the true cost of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s unpopular decision to open Germany’s borders.
The €9.3 billion package in the federal government’s outlay last year provided financial help to state and municipal governments but far from covered the costs. Local governments said in May that they expect to have to shoulder around €21 billion a year, rising to €30 billion by 2020, on migrants’ cost of living.
In August last year, it was revealed that, beyond integration, the migrant crisis will significantly raise the country’s security bill. Sources reported that the estimated minimum requirement of 20,000 new police officers will cost taxpayers at least €1.3 billion per year, a figure which is expected to have an “upward trend”.
Bild reported that Germany’s budget for internal security is set to climb until 2017 by at least a third, from €6.1 billion to €8.3 billion.