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Germany: Berlin’s Governing Mayor Müller Wants to Accommodate Refugees

As the situation at the Turkish-Greek border escalates, the city state of Berlin offered to accept children and unaccompanied minors from there. Governing Mayor Michael Müller said it was time to act.

During the 2015 refugee crisis, many unaccompanied minors turned out to be part of the hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers who came to Europe. This has not changed. Berlin wants to help them.

‘Quick and Solidary Help’

In Berlin, Governing Mayor Müller stated the humanitarian situation on Greece’s Aegean islands and at the outer border of the European Union was intolerable to a European Union guided by Human Rights. Regardless of political considerations, it was time to act. At least children and other young, unaccompanied refugees needed to be saved from this difficult situation.

Refugees in Croatia in 2015. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Germany’s federal government needed to allow cities who had offered support to provide “quick and solidary help”, Müller stated. He appealed to Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and the entire federal government to let those cities welcome an additional contingent of refugees. Müller also said it was self-evident that the federal state covered half the costs.

Bundestag Rejects Motion on Refugees

The Mayor was referring to cities that are part of the organization ‘Städte Sicherer Häfen’ (‘Cities of Safe Ports’). They had offered to accept more refugees several times since the 2015 refugee crisis. An initiative with a similar purpose was founded by the federal states governed by Social Democrats in 2018. Berlin is part of it.

On Wednesday, a motion handed in by the German Greens about the acceptance of 5000 refugees from the Greek islands was rejected by the Berlin Bundestag. The grand coalition parties SPD and CDU voted against it, in spite of the fact that many Social Democrats would have preferred to support the initiative.

Seehofer Wants to Help Migrants in Turkey

On the other hand, the conservative Michael Grosse-Brömer said for every 5000 refugees Germany accepted, 50,000 more would head towards Central Europe. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, a CSU member, stated neither the European nor the German borders were open. But he did say Germany would support Greece as much as it could and help the refugees in Turkey.

Family Minister Franziska Giffey of the SPD stated the photos of those refugees and the Turkish-Greek border were hard to take. Germany needed to help the children who were in that situation. Human Rights and the rights of children needed to be the guidelines of Germany’s policies.

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