Chancellor Angela Merkel and her ministers will discuss the government’s annual report on refugee and integration costs during their regular cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Merkel has repeatedly defended her 2015 decision to leave German borders open to hundreds of thousands of war refugees, mainly from Muslim countries, as a humanitarian necessity, but has since vowed to prevent a repeat of such mass migration by tackling its causes.
A few refugees get a job soon after they arrived in Germany. However, for most of them labour market integration is still a long way off. Bevor getting a job, many refugees have to learn German and engage in retraining or vocational education and training. As far as labour market integration of refugees is concerned, job counsellors in the public employment service play an essential role. In an extensive research project the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) has analysed the process of labour market advice and job placement of refugees.
The government spent a total of 7.9 billion euros in 2018 on measures aimed at keeping migrants outside the European Union and improving living conditions in their home countries – a 16 percent increase compared with 2017.
Germany’s 16 states, which are mainly in charge of housing and integrating the arrivals from countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, received 7.5 billion euros from the federal government last year, according to the report. This marked an increase of 14 percent on the year.
Alice Weidel, parliamentary leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), criticised Merkel’s government for spending billions on refugees, saying: “This is a costly welcome party at the expense of citizens.”
Annette Widmann-Mauz, minister of state for migration, refugees and integration, said Weidel’s comments were “stupid” and in bad taste.
“Fighting the causes of migration, which makes up a large part of the total spending, is just as much in our interest as investing in successful integration,” Widmann-Mauz told Reuters.
“Whoever dismisses humanitarian protection as a party has understood nothing at all,” she added.
Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Gareth Jones
The Sri Lankan government official said on Monday it was invoking emergency powers in the aftermath of devastating bomb attacks on hotels and churches, blamed on militants with foreign links, which killed 321 people and wounded nearly 500.
Police say 40 suspects are detained in connection with the attack. A spokesman said they included a Syrian who was arrested “after the interrogation of local suspects”.
The Islamic State (IS) group claimed the attack on Tuesday via its news outlet. Sri Lanka’s government has blamed the blasts on local Islamist group National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ).
The Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that killed over 300 people were a response to the recent mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, the defence minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, has said.
“The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch,” Wijewardene told a special sitting of parliament, referring to the terrorist attack in March in which 50 people were killed.
An intelligence memo circulated to some in government in the weeks before the attack noted that one member of the terrorist group named as the perpetrator had started to update his social media accounts “with extremist content” after the New Zealand shootings.
But terrorism researchers have said the sophisticated nature of the attack and the equipment used would likely have required months of preparation, including conditioning the suicide bombers and testing the explosives.
Wijewardene also told parliament on Tuesday that the death toll had climbed to 321 people – including 38 foreigners – and reiterated that the prime minister and other key officials were never told about the possibility of an impending attack.
Sri Lankans have started to bury the dead from the string of bombings.Tuesday has been declared a national day of mourning and white flags were hung from buildings across Colombo as a three-minute silence was held from 8.30am, about the time of the first of Sunday’s bombings that targeted three churches and three luxury hotels.
U.S.-led coalition says it has started Syria withdrawal
The U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State has begun the process of withdrawing from Syria, a spokesman said on Friday, indicating the start of a U.S. pullout that has been clouded by mixed messages from Washington.
|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|The U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State has begun the process of withdrawing from Syria, its spokesman said on Friday, affirming the start of a pullout that has been clouded by mixed messages from U.S. officials.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), trained by the US-led coalition, participate in the graduation ceremony of their first regiment in al-Kasrah, in the suburb of eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor, on May 21, 2018.DELIL SOULEIMAN | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump announced last month the decision to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops who have deployed to Syria in support of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia in the fight against Islamic State.
The coalition “has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria. Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troop movements,” Colonel Sean Ryan said.
Washington’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria fear the withdrawal will open the way for Turkey to mount a long-threatened offensive against their area. Turkey views the dominant Syrian Kurdish groups as a national security threat.
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton suggested on Tuesday that protecting the Kurds would be a pre-condition of the U.S. withdrawal, drawing a rebuke from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan who called his comments “a serious mistake”.
But U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday the withdrawal would not be scuppered despite the Turkish threats.
A Russian woman and child have been killed in U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria while at least a dozen more are trapped in the war-torn country, a Chechen human rights council member has said.
Citing “civil sources,” Syrian state media reported that 11 civilians were killed in U.S.-led coalition airstrikes on an Islamic State-held village in eastern Syria on Thursday.
A 35-year-old Chechen woman and a four-year-old Dagestani boy were killed in the attack, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited Chechnya’s human rights council member Kheda Saratova as saying Friday.
“I urge everyone who is able to influence this situation to help stop the killing of innocent children,” Saratova told the outlet.
Saratova said that the first victim, identified as Khava Akhyadova, left behind five children aged between 1.5 months and 12 years old who were briefly sheltered by a Kurdish family.
Saratova said 15 women had appealed for help to return their daughters and grandchildren from the shelled Syrian region.
“These women essentially fell hostage to terrorists,” RIA Novosti quoted her as saying. “Now they’re surrounded, killed by bombs and are pleading their relatives for help.”
On Sunday, thirty-six Russian children were resettled from Syria and Iraq aboard a Baghdad-Moscow charter flight. Russia’s children’s rights ombdusperson later said 36 more children of jailed or killed Islamic State members are planned to be repatriated this month.
Islamic State is a terrorist organization banned in Russia.