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Germany's Refugee Crisis

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  • Full article:
    German interior minister presents his migration master plan

    Interior Minister Horst Seehofer finally got to present his migration "master plan" to the press on Tuesday, a month after it was blocked at the last minute by Chancellor Angela Merkel, precipitating a crisis in the German government that almost cost them both their jobs.

    Seehofer also hinted at the delay in publication by pointing out that the delayed release of his plans came on his 69th birthday, noting that this coincided with the return of 69 people to Afghanistan from Germany, and quipping, "that was not on my order."

    The minister did not appear to have been out to calm the waters more generally, calling reporters to a press conference in the Interior Ministry to present a plan that did not include the 11th-hour compromises made by the government last week, which averted his resignation.

    Instead, Seehofer, who is also head of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), emphasized that "this isn't a master plan of the coalition, but a master plan of this house." He was referring to the Interior Ministry, but could also be presenting a plan by his party.

    Seehofer had actually agreed to some compromises with Merkel last week

    The document published on Tuesday, he said, had been finalized on July 4, which meant that it did not include the compromises made last week with Merkel and with the coalition's junior partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD). He also admitted that it was not yet clear which measures contained in the plan the center-left would agree to.

    An old new plan

    Perhaps most provocatively, Seehofer's plan still contained the term "transit centers," which the SPD had vetoed in favor of "transit procedures," and which has already been ditched by the government he represents. Still, the interior minister refused to admit it was a provocation – at least not in so many words. "It is not a provocation, but if you like, you could also see it that way," he told the Bild newspaper elliptically.

    In its introduction, the plan also demands that "asylum seekers work actively on their asylum procedures. We want to stop people disappearing during or after their asylum procedures, or hide their real identities."

    Seehofer's "master plan," now effectively published after it has gone out of date, included so-called transit centers situated at the German-Austrian border, in which asylum seekers would be held if another country was found to be responsible for their applications.

    Instead, the German government, apparently worried by the prospect of keeping asylum-seekers in what might look like concentration camps, agreed last week to an SPD amendment: implementing fast-tracked transit procedures in existing border police stations, which would ensure that asylum seekers are returned to other countries within 48 hours.

    This will require bilateral agreements with other European Union countries, especially Austria, Italy, and Greece. Seehofer said that such an agreement had already been made with Austria.

    Other measures in the master plan (most of which are backed by Merkel) include:

    - Tougher sanctions against asylum-seekers, especially those who return to their countries of origin while their cases are still being decided, as well as those who do not attend integration courses.

    - More "anchor centers": Seehofer has long since called for these "one-stop" centers, where asylum-seekers will be registered, have their cases considered, and be deported from all as quickly as possible. However, these would have to be administered at state level, and Germany's state governments have been reluctant to implement the plans so far.

    - More EU border protection: Apart from reinforcing the EU's border security force FRONTEX, as agreed at a Brussels summit at the end of June, Seehofer also wants to install "disembarkation platforms" in North Africa. The problem here is that no North African country has yet agreed to allow such a platform to be built. Merkel and Seehofer are both hoping that agreements similar to the one struck with Turkey two years ago can be reached.
    "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."


    • Full article:
      Horst Seehofer faces calls to resign after deportee suicide

      It's a joke that may come back to haunt Horst Seehofer. On Tuesday, while presenting his so-called master plan for migration, the interior minister crowed: "It just so happens that on my 69th birthday, without any orders from me, 69 people were sent back to Afghanistan."

      Little did Seehofer know when he made this remark that one of those people had hung himself in a temporary camp in the Afghan capital some hours before. The 23-year-old Afghan Jamal Nasser Mahmoudi's suicide was announced by Seehofer's own Interior Ministry on Wednesday and confirmed by refugee workers in Afghanistan.

      In a brief statement, the Interior Ministry called the suicide "a deeply lamentable occurrence."

      Seehofer, who is also the leader of the Bavarian conservative CSU party, was already a controversial figure in Germany after leading opposition to Chancellor Angela Merkel's welcoming policy toward migrants. Many feared his rebellion could bring down the government. The governmental crisis was defused last week thanks to a compromise with Merkel's larger sister party, the CDU, and their junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD).

      Seehofer's approval ratings plummeted because of that public spat, and now voices demanding that he go are growing ever louder — even within the governing coalition.
      "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."


      • Seehofer's hardline approach to deportation is hitting some snags beyond deportees killing themselves:

        This morning the former bodyguard of Osama Bin Laden, Sami A. was deported to Tunisia.

        This afternoon, the responsible court decided that this constituted a "grave violation of judicial process and his rights", "grossly unlawful" and ordered the deportation reverted and Sami A. brought back to Germany.


        • Originally posted by Mihais View Post
          Who's going to work and pay YOUR pension?
          German Workers, Thank Refugees When Your Paychecks Are Growing
          By Carolynn Look
          14 July 2018, 05:00 CEST

          The arrival of more than a million refugees in Germany in recent years nearly tore apart the government. It’s also a reason why the country’s workers could soon be taking home more pay.

          Even if the influx of mostly young workers is likely to be a drag on gross wage growth as competition in the labor market increases, net pay might still rise, according to Oxford Economics’ Daniel Harenberg. His research shows that more overall contributions to Germany’s social insurance system gives the government room to keep individual burdens lower.

          The additional increase in net pay, compared to a scenario without refugees, could reach 0.5 percent by 2025 and accelerate to 2.5 percent by 2055, Harenberg’s calculations show. He predicts wages will rise around 3 percent a year through 2050.

          While the impact of migration on overall growth in compensation is small -- the existing scarcity of labor will already do a lot to push up wages -- the argument shows that, despite populist warnings, an overwhelming majority of Germans is set to benefit economically from an expansion of the workforce. Unemployment insurance contributions are set to fall next year as companies keep hiring and joblessness declines.

          To accommodate workers who will be crowded out by increased competition, Harenberg suggests the government could redistribute some of the gains from its improved finances, for instance by reducing taxes for low-income earners.

          “Immigration is an important component in solving the problem of an unfunded pension system and an aging society,” according to the economist. “As such, the refugee inflow offers some much needed breathing room.”


          • Parliamentary President Schäuble is currently investigating whether Seehofer misused resources of the Interior Ministry when creating his "Masterplan" that he published in his function as CSU chairman (not as Interior Minister). The Greens complained about it.

            Schäuble himself meanwhile has stated - with the full gravity of his office as #3 in the state, and as effectively the grey eminence of CDU ultraconservatives - that if Seehofer had not gone for a compromise Merkel should have kicked him out of office. Greens, Left and FDP as well as the (leftist) SPD youth wing are still calling for that anyway. In surveys, 73% of voters in Bavaria consider Schäuble's actions to have been damaging for the CSU in the upcoming election. Only 13% of Bavarians - and 41% of CSU voters - support a continuation of the current CSU sole government in that election.



              Bremen migration office scandal much smaller than first thought

              The Bremen refugee office was accused of illegally approving 1,200 asylum applications, triggering a nationwide scandal. But it now seems the situation was vastly overstated.

              A scandal over suspected fraud at the Bremen branch of Germany's Federal Office of Migration and Refugees (BAMF) was not nearly as large as initially assumed, according to a media report.

              Out of 18,315 asylum decisions made by the Bremen BAMF office since 2000, in only 165 cases did migration officials "seriously violate guidelines," according to Bild am Sonntag.

              An example of violating rules is failing to conduct a security background check.

              The newspaper cited a previously confidential final report of the BAMF investigation into the Bremen office.

              DW reported in June that the BAMF scandal was not nearly as far-reaching as previously thought and involved mostly procedural mistakes rather than wrong asylum decisions and alleged corruption.

              The Bremen BAMF office came under heat in April when it was alleged that more than 1,200 asylum applications had been illegally approved between 2013 and 2016.

              The former head of the Bremen BAMF is under investigation although she denies any wrongdoing.

              Interior Minister Horst Seehofer used the scandal to push for major changes at BAMF and tougher asylum laws. He sacked the then BAMF chief, Jutta Cordt, in May over the scandal.
              Emphasis underlined. Gee.


              • Gotta do it this style here too now...

                What: 5,000 neonazis running rampant in Chemnitz, Saxony, i.e. AFD-land.
                Reason: Stabbing of a German by possibly a Syrian and an Iraqi after a drunk altercation between two groups.
                Overall: about 20 people arrested for battery so far, another 30 or so for other crimes, plus another 10 indicted for various propaganda delicts (i.e. nazi salutes).

                Police Reaction: Only 600 officers in the streets. Federal Ministry of the Interior has offered assistance.
                Political Reaction: "Can't allow that kind of thing." (Merkel, paraphrased)
                Press Reaction (West): "It's East Germany, what do you expect from those nazis."
                Press Reaction (East): "Our state government is just a bit overwhelmed."

                Snag that the nazis don't know: Victim was a rather dark-skinned half-Cuban leftwing punk who they wouldn't have really liked either.

                Links: see e.g.
                Last edited by kato; 28 Aug 18,, 18:51.


                • Saxony has officially requested assistance from the Federal Police as well as riot police forces from five other states.

                  Meanwhile neonazis have "somehow" gotten hold of the arrest order for the Iraqi and published it on the internet, a crime that by itself already carries a sentence of up to one year - and that's beyond the fact that the state will now have to finecomb their police and justice systems for moles.


                  • Next monday in Chemnitz might become fun.

                    Couple known left-wing bands are organizing a free public concert for that day. At the place where those nazis met up last monday - which, to give it some flavour, is under the watchful eyes of a giant Karl Marx bust. On the day that the nazis usually meet up. With one singer having had his last court date for an altercation involving nazis only last December (of band Feine Sahne Fischfilet, which is also under surveillance by domestic intelligence), another known for having just given Saxony's prime minister the middle finger in June (band Kraftklub, which is from Chemnitz), one known for ... uh, not liking nazis since the 80s musically (band Tote Hosen), some left-wing rappers (Casper & Marteria) as well as a hip-hop band from Berlin whose members have run as PARTEI candidates a couple times (band K.I.Z.). Plus some others i've never heard of. The slogan for the concert is "we are more", as in "we can get more left-wing people on the street than you right-wingers".

                    Originally posted by kato View Post
                    the state will now have to finecomb their police and justice systems for moles.
                    They already got him. It's a known early PEGIDA follower who works in the justice system ( a prison guard) and who has turned himself in. He's been suspended and is facing the requisite lesser treason charges.


                    • Saxon state police chief claims that for today's right-wing and left-wing rallies "all available police units in Germany" will be moved into Chemnitz. A 2nd Bundesliga soccer game - HSV Hamburg vs Dynamo Dresden - to be held today in Saxony has been cancelled due to a shortage of riot police manpower available.

                      AfD head Gauland is defending the neonazis in Chemnitz btw. In a survey, 57% of the population want the AfD placed under domestic intelligence surveillance for that. Of course the ultraconservative federal government is walling against that.
                      Edit, PS: Same survey says 76% of the population see democracy endangered by neonazis right now.
                      Last edited by kato; 01 Sep 18,, 10:46.


                      • Federal Attorney is now investigating the rapid mobilization processes of neonazis for Chemnitz.

                        The Federal Attorney is responsible for terrorism cases. In his only public interview since taking the office last October - in February - he made cracking down on right-wing terrorism a priority and announced that he'd pull any cases involving neonazis in which there were pogrom-like attacks - similar to what happened in the 90s in East Germany - or any cases of attacks by neonazi groups with casulaties towards his agency.


                        • It's gotten ridiculous enough that the New York Times had its own live newsticker from Chemnitz today:

                          Overall it's pretty sedate for a German political rally. Police is basically shuffling around cavalry, watercannons and APCs; dogs and batons used here and there, mostly on neonazis. Some scuffles between neonazis and left-wingers with a few dozen injured, nothing major. Some police and press individually physically attacked by neonazis with a couple injured.
                          Last edited by kato; 01 Sep 18,, 20:20.


                          • The head of federal domestic intelligence, Hans-Georg Maaßen, got into a bit of a bind over the last few weeks by claiming that a video from Chemnitz (showing neonazis attacking foreigners) was "fake".

                            The SPD called for his dismissal over that and placed the government coalition into question - and ... well: Maaßen is being moved to a position as a state secretary (deputy minister) now.

                            Fox News plays it as "top spy ousted after clash with Merkel over migrants", which... err, yes. Let's see, it's not an espionage agency, he wasn't ousted, it wasn't a clash with Merkel, and it wasn't over migrants. I recommend this WSJ article for something that actually says what happened.


                            • ugh, it's seriously concerning to me how much the blood-and-soil cancer has spread throughout Europe even during a time of relatively decent economic growth. god help you guys during the next recession.
                              There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov


                              • It's not like that cancer was ever not there. It's just a bit more visible at the moment. The early 90s were a whole lot worse in this regard too compared to now, and yes, including political representation of the cancer.