Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer has called for more federal government money to deal with refugees. Germany is expecting a record number of asylum applications this year.
Horst Seehofer, who heads the Christian Social Union (CSU), Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), told the "Welt am Sonntag" newspaper on Sunday that Germany's states needed "massive additional help" to manage a huge influx of refugees.
"The federal government has to do significantly more than it has done so far," he said, though he admitted that Berlin had increased its support to the states by a billion euros this year ($1.13 billion). "For the coming years at least a doubling of the funds is necessary. Bavaria is absolutely reaching its limits," Seehofer added.
Rising numbers, rising costs
Germany's 16 states expect to spend about five billion euros ($5.49 billion) combined on processing migrants and refugees this year, double what was spent in 2014.
Nationwide, more than 179,000 asylum applications have already been filed this year, and it was expected that more than 400,000 people would apply in total.
A statement released by the German Interior Ministry, after talks in June, included a pledge that beginning in 2016, the federal government would contribute "structurally and sustainably to the total public costs that are created in connection with the number of asylum seekers requiring protection and refugees."
A spokesman for the ministry told Reuters on Sunday that the government was willing to increase funds and noted the difficulties faced by local authorities.
Over the weekend, aid organizations began setting up tents to accommodate refugees in Eisenhüttenstadt in Brandenburg, because the designated shelters there were full. A temporary tent camp has also been set up in Dresden.
Send Balkan migrants back
Seehofer also defended his controversial demand for asylum seekers from Balkan countries to be deported more quickly.
"That is necessary to preserve the solidarity of the people towards those who are really in need of protection," he said.
But Aydan Özoguz, Germany's minister of state for migration, told "Der Tagesspiegel," "The talk of deterrence methods and deportation centers in which only minimal standards should be given, that's a no-go."
In recent months, Germany has seen hundreds of attacks on refugee shelters as well as protests from far-right groups that have been met with counter-demonstrations.
se/bk (Reuters, dpa, AFP, KNA)