The German government in 2016 provided 9.3 billion euros ($10.4 billion) to its sixteen states for assisting migrants and 11 billion euros on measures designed to fight the causes of forced migration and displacement abroad.
The figures are from a federal government report expected to be approved and published by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet on Wednesday.
A total of 5.5 billion euros was spent for migrants who were seeking asylum and were not yet recognized by the state. The funds spent within Germany also went towards an integration package that cost 2 billion euros, while 400 million euros was spent on shelter for asylum seekers and 350 million euros on unaccompanied minors.
The state of North Rhein-Westphalia received the most funding (1.2 billion euros), followed by Bavaria (860 million euros) and Baden-Württemberg (728 million euros).
German public opinion on the large influx of refugees has remained mostly positive, with almost 40 percent of surveyed citizens saying they were very or mostly sure that Germany can overcome the challenges posed by migration flows.
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Combating the causes of forced migration
The Federal Ministry of Finance announced that 11 billion euros were spent directly on additional measures to fight the causes of forced migration and displacement – measures Merkel’s chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, on Wednesday claimed were working.
“In the past year, we have seen the number of new arrivals coming over to Greece from Turkey dramatically reduced,” Altmaier told the German Rheinische Post newspaper. “It also appears that the influx of migrants on the Libya-Italy route is falling rather going up. Our commitment to improving the situation in Libya, Mali and Niger appears to be paying off.”
Germany has deployed Bundeswehr troops in a number of countries to dismantle migrant trafficking networks and support the fight against Islamist groups.
Tighter migration laws
Angela Merkel’s open-door migrant policy has seen more than a million migrants enter Germany from besieged regions in the Middle East and Africa since 2015. While Germany has worked towards stemming mass migration flows at the source, the influx of refugees has also reduced markedly over the past year due to the introduction tougher asylum laws.
The chancellor, for example, has called for faster deportations of failed asylum seekers amid heightened security concerns following last December’s terror attack on a Berlin Christmas market, perpetrated by a failed asylum seeker from Tunisia.
A new series of policies agreed last week would allow the German authorities to deport rejected asylum seekers more quickly and regularly. Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), meanwhile, has seen its powers expanded to monitor asylum seekers and access their personal electronic devices.