The German Labor Minister said on Sunday that refugees in Germany who fail to integrate should have their welfare benefits cut. The announcement comes as the German government struggles with accommodating an influx of migrants and refugees into its borders.
Labor Minister Andrea Nahles said that asylum-seekers should be required to learn the German language to receive welfare, reports Deutsche Welle.
“Whoever comes here to seek refuge and begin a new life must adhere to our rules and values,” Nahles wrote in a German newspaper column.
“We will cut the benefits of those who send the signal that they do not want to integrate. From my point of view that should also be connected to participation in language courses and, in addition, adhering to the basic rules of our coexistence.”
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The Labor Minister emphasized the expectation that all migrants support themselves financially and “use all their skills and manpower to earn their own living.”
Nahles also emphasized that E.U. citizens and migrants alike should not remain in Germany indefinitely, reports Russia Today.
“Local authorities can’t care for destitute E.U. nationals from abroad indefinitely. That was never the idea of E.U. freedom of movement, which is among the greatest achievements of European integration,” wrote Nahles.
The remarks by the German Labor Minister come as the German governing coalition debates how to manage upwards of 1.1 million migrants, most fleeing violence and poverty, who entered Germany in 2015. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy to migrants is facing strong opposition throughout Germany, and her government is moving to address public concerns.
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Concerns about the German government’s handling of surge of asylum-seekers has pushed a growing number of Germans to support the right-wing Alternative for Germany Party. The AfD Party emphasizes taking a hard line against migrants coming to Germany.
The AfD was placed under surveillance by the German government after party leader Frauke Petry called for police to be able to shoot at refugees who attempt to enter Germany illegally.