Germany needs additional 450 million euros to integrate refugees, says labor minister | News | DW | 11.02.2016
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Germany needs additional 450 million euros to integrate refugees, says labor minister

Labor Minister Andrea Nahles said the funds would ensure other social services were not affected by the increased migration. EU officials are urging member states to do more to deal with people fleeing for Europe.

Germany Labor Minister Andrea Nahles said on Wednesday that her national ministry requires an additional 450 million euros to integrate refugees.

Social Democrat Nahles said these funds would be used to create 100,000 jobs for refugees, though she added that further means would be required to contribute to projects like training and education.

Nahles noted that the ministry's budget could not accommodate major integration projects in its current form without weighing on other services, which could prove challenging after more than 1 million migrants applied for asylum in the country in 2015.

"We cannot take away from the long-term unemployment funds. Otherwise, it creates predatory competition, stoking fears, instead of reducing them," Nahles said in an interview published in Thursday newspapers belonging to the "Funke Mediengruppe" media group.

"Therefore, we need additional funds for the integration of refugees," Nahles said.

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Refugees seek integration through employment

The integration process has received widespread attention from German media and lawmakers after reports that a large group of men, many of North African origin, sexually assaulted and robbed women during New Year's Eve celebrations in central Cologne.

Nahles' appeal comes as EU officials call for member states to act swiftly in order to prevent damage to the 28-nation bloc and the Schengen passport-free travel zone.

'Moral duty'

On Wednesday, Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU's chief migration official, said the bloc had a "moral duty" to accept refugees, reminding member states that "we are talking about human beings." In January, more than 300 migrants died while making the dangerous trip from Turkey to Greece across the Aegean Sea.

European Council President Donald Tusk said in January that member states had two months to bring the migration wave "under control" or the Schengen zone would fail.

More than 1 million migrants crossed into the EU in 2015, many of them fleeing war in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, according to figures from the International Organization of Migration (IOM).

ls/msh (dpa, AFP)

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