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Der Spiegel: Germany doesn't want Romani people in Schengen

Berlin, 5.3.2013 16:21, (ROMEA)
The headquarters of the Euroroma political party in the town of Sandanski, Bulgaria. A bomb exploded there in 2012, killing Malin Iliev, a Romani candidate in the local elections. Photo:  Novinite.com
The headquarters of the Euroroma political party in the town of Sandanski, Bulgaria. A bomb exploded there in 2012, killing Malin Iliev, a Romani candidate in the local elections. Photo: Novinite.com

The latest issue of Der Spiegel magazine reports that while no one in the German government has ever officially stated the policy (and probably never will), it is completely evident whom it targets: Germany has been rattled by the immigration of Romani people from Bulgaria and Romania, which is why it doesn't want to open its doors to citizens from the two poorest states on Europe's border.

The aim is clear: Don't let Romani people into Schengen. What's more, Great Britain is even changing its social welfare legislation to address the issue.

German towns are now battling an influx of Bulgarians and Romanians whom they view as a threat to their social arrangements and equilibrium. Der Spiegel reports that the leaders of German municipalities recently held a conference and produced a document stating that they consider the high proportion of Romani people among these migrants very problematic. German municipalities are now asking the state for aid due to the significant costs of caring for these newcomers from the EU's newest Member States.

Der Spiegel reports that the number of Bulgarians and Romanians has increased sixfold since 2006 in some towns. While in 2008 the Federal Statistical Bureau reported that a total of 18 550 people from those two countries had moved to Germany, there were more than 60 000 such people three years later. The towns most affected are Berlin, Dortmund, Duisburg, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich and Offenbach.

The problem is that many of these people settle in neighborhoods already battling high unemployment. For many newcomers from southeastern Europe, most of whom do not have enough education or linguistic skills, the chances of finding a place on the German labor market are practically zero.

"Our social arrangements and social equilibrium have been placed at risk to the greatest possible extent," the German municipalities warn in their declaration. Der Spiegel reports that they have labeled as exceptionally problematic the high proportion of Romani people in particular among the Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants, reporting that these people often live in desolate conditions in condemned buildings throughout Germany.

The municipalities are complaining that high costs for emergency housing, medical care, and welfare are being incurred because of this "poverty migration". "We expect serious help from the state," said Detlef Scheele, the head of social affairs at the Hamburg town hall.

Bulgarian and Romania joined the EU in 2007. They are now striving to be accepted into the Schengen area, which is free of border controls.

The Netherlands in particular recently opposed this idea. German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich also expressed criticism of it last year.

ČTK, brf, iDNES.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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