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HomeDeutschlandDuisburg Mayor Proposes Payment Card for Refugees - Sees Potential Pitfall

Duisburg Mayor Proposes Payment Card for Refugees – Sees Potential Pitfall

The government of the North Rhine-Westphalia state has indicated potential financial support for municipalities to introduce a payment card for asylum seekers. “We assume that the introduction will probably be cost-neutral for the municipalities due to savings elsewhere,” a government spokesman told dpa on Tuesday in Düsseldorf.

“If not: Of course, the introduction in North Rhine-Westphalia will not fail due to costs. If necessary, the state will support the municipalities,” he stated. In this sense, “we will now also discuss a joint design for the payment card in North Rhine-Westphalia in ongoing exchange with the municipal umbrella organizations.”

Municipalities in NRW can choose whether to introduce a payment card – Concern about patchwork

The government spokesperson emphasized that the state government wants to enable a comprehensive introduction of the payment card and that North Rhine-Westphalia is not taking a special path in this regard. It has been agreed in a joint working group of federal states and municipal leaders at the level of state and senate chancelleries not to introduce a “mandatory affiliation” so that existing and functioning systems in individual districts do not have to be abandoned, he explained about the agreements made.

The Association of Cities and Municipalities NRW emphasized the need to find a comprehensive solution for North Rhine-Westphalia that reduces the administrative burden on municipalities and is financially feasible. It is not sensible to impose a mandatory affiliation on the municipalities if it undermines existing card models in individual districts. “There are no such individual models in North Rhine-Westphalia. Therefore, there is nothing, from our perspective, against a binding regulation for comprehensive introduction,” said Christof Sommer, Managing Director. “This is the only way to achieve control effects.” The state’s assumption of the municipal costs for the introduction “is as helpful as it is necessary.”

Mayor warns of internal migration if payment card is not introduced everywhere

The state chancellery had previously stated on Monday in response to the payment card that there will be no “mandatory affiliation” for municipalities in NRW. There are no plans for the state of NRW to take over the costs incurred in the municipalities. This announcement provoked sharp criticism from the Association of Cities and Municipalities NRW and the Association of Cities NRW. If the federal and state governments decide to introduce a payment card, they must fully cover the costs, emphasized the associations. They advocated for a comprehensive introduction of the card, aiming to prevent a patchwork.

There is also sharp criticism from Sören Link. The 47-year-old is the Mayor (SPD) of Duisburg, NRW. Link intends to introduce the payment card, as he stated in an interview with “Bild” newspaper. This is the right thing to do because it reduces the “migration incentive through available cash.” “This only works if it is introduced everywhere in Germany.” The mayor warns of internal migration to cities and districts where there is no payment card.

It is wrong to force cities to choose whether to participate, Link continued. “But in NRW, the government of CDU and Greens is shying away from taking a clear stance. This is where this project could fail.”

“Wüst is taking a risky zigzag course”

There was also fierce criticism from the opposition in the NRW state parliament on Monday. The SPD parliamentary group has accused Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) of having demanded the payment card. The state government now apparently wants nothing to do with the implementation. The FDP parliamentary group also criticized Wüst: “He demanded it emphatically in Berlin, but it is not coming in a comprehensive way in NRW – Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst is taking a risky zigzag course with the payment card for refugees.”

The SPD is seeking clarification: The largest opposition faction wants to know in a written question when the state government discussed the introduction of a payment card in NRW. They also point out that it concerns the implementation of a decision by the prime ministers’ conference. The questions were submitted to dpa on Tuesday. The SPD also demands information from the black-green government on whether a legal basis is required for a comprehensive introduction of the payment card in NRW.



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