German minister asks for half a billion to create jobs for refugees

Andrea Nahles has gone cup in hand to notoriously hard-nosed Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. []

Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Andrea Nahles has called for €450 million to help integrate refugees into the labour market. EURACTIV Germany reports.

Nahles has asked for nearly half a billion euros from Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble in order to provide better access to jobs, according to German media. 

Nahles told the Funke Mediengruppe that the current budget is not sufficient. In order to create 100,000 new jobs for new arrivals to Germany, she needs at least €450 million extra per year.

“So far, people have had to sit around doing nothing for 12 months at a time,” she said. “This creates tension for everyone. We must act as quickly as possible, but I can only do this with the support of the Finance Minister.”

>>Read: EPP leader: ‘War refugees should only be granted temporary residency’

However, Nahles warned against taking the money from the long-term unemployed, as this would “stoke the fires of fear” and create even more tension.

Negotiations with the Finance Ministry have started already. Nahles expects the number of recipients of unemployment benefits, under the so-called Hartz IV system, to rise to 270,000 this year. Of these, about 200,000 are fit for work.

The arrival of over 1 million refugees last year has put a strain on nearly every aspect of German society, with the health, education and employment sectors all struggling to cope with the influx of people.

Germany’s situation is paralleled In Turkey, where legislation has been passed to allow Syrians to work legally in the country. 

Turkish Ambassador Selim Yenel told EURACTIV in an interview that this measure will have a knock-on effect for education, where Syrian teachers will now be able to work legally and help educate the significant number of Syrian children that have arrived in the country.

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