The Federal Minister of Interior, Horst Seehofer, described Germany as “a divided country” and the issue of migration as “the mother of all political problems”. EURACTIV Germany reports.
Seehofer said the cause of division in the country was not the refugee policy alone. “However, the issue of migration is the mother of all political problems in this country”.
He added that many people would now associate their social concerns with the issue and cautioned that “we will continue to lose trust” if the change in policy was not successful.
Seehofer has refused to give refugees who have a job the prospect of remaining in the country through the skilled workers immigration law.
He rejected both the so-called “lane change”, whereby rejected asylum seekers could gain residence rights if they can prove they are working or undergoing training, and a cut-off date.
“If you apply for asylum and gain residence rights, you are entitled to work. If you apply for asylum and are refused, you are obliged to leave. We do not want to change this principle”. If Germany were to give residence rights to those who start work, “we may as well not bother with the whole asylum procedure,” Seehofer said.
At the same time, the interior minister showed understanding for the recent violent demonstrations in Chemnitz, eastern Germany.
If people were expressing their outrage, it was far from making them Nazis, he said on the sidelines of a retreat of the Christian Social Union (CSU) state faction in Brandenburg.
According to participants, the head of the CSU also criticised the fact that statements had been hastily made after the protests. He was “always in favour of politicians only getting involved in these matters when they have authentic information”.