German politicians disagree over use of development aid

Gerd Müller []

Germany is now trying to limit the number of refugees crossing its borders. Ministers have come to blows on the issue. EURACTIV’s partner Tagesspiegel reports.

Development Aid Minister Gerd Müller (Christian Social Union) and Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel (Social Democratic Party) have disagreed about the latter’s proposal that development aid should be used as a means of sanction.

Gabriel, who is also the Minister for Economic Affairs, suggested that countries that refuse to accept deported asylum seekers would risk having their development aid slashed.

“This proposal is not at all conducive,” Müller told Tagesspiegel.

“If we cancel food aid to countries that need it, then we are just going to create more refugees that will come to Germany. We must do more, not less,” he said. In this sense, Gabriel himself had announced just a few weeks ago, in conjunction with France’s Minister of Economy, a fund of some €10 billion for crisis states. 

“I would love to take Mr Gabriel’s word on this,” Müller added.

>>Read: Confirmation: Germany welcomed 1 million refugees in 2015

Müller also spoke in favour of somehow reducing the number of refugees arriving. This could be done through establishing an upper limit on numbers, as Müller’s CSU party chief Horst Seehofer has suggested for a number of months.

“It is clear that the goal should be a significant reduction.” In the first ten days of the New Year, 30,000 refugees have already arrived in Germany, roughly the population of a small German town.

>>Read: ‘They’ll think we are the enemy’: Refugees in Germany fear backlash

“It will not be possible to create a small town every week,” he warned. Neither municipalities nor volunteers would be able to provide the resources for it.

“At the same time, we have more than 500,000 refugees in the country that are not registered. We do not know who is here and who is not. This is a high security risk,” Müller concluded.

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