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Housing containers for arriving refugees in Cologne: The dispute between the federal government and municipalities is likely to continue despite the asylum compromise

Photo: Oliver Berg / dpa

Asylum centres at the external borders and better distribution among the member states: The compromise of the EU states on a stricter approach to refugees is tough from a German point of view. For the cities and municipalities, however, it does not bring the desired result – after all, the agreement does not bring any short-term relief for the German municipalities, warned the German Association of Cities and Municipalities.

"We expressly warn against moving back to business as usual with regard to the European asylum compromise and not regulating important national issues," Chief Executive Gerd Landsberg told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland. It is an "important signal" that the EU states are going down a common path in migration policy, Landsberg continued. However, many key questions remain unanswered.

Landsberg pointed out that the compromise reached still had to be coordinated with the EU Parliament. This could result in changes "or the project could even fail altogether," he continued, according to the RND. If a decision is reached, it will be a long time before the planned facilities at Europe's external borders are operational. "A short-term relief for the cities and municipalities in Germany is therefore not to be expected."

On Thursday evening, after difficult negotiations in Luxembourg, the majority of EU interior ministers agreed to a compromise to end the long-standing asylum dispute. For the first time, this provides for asylum procedures at the EU's external borders. Countries that refuse to accept migrants will have to pay a penalty payment of 20,000 euros for each migrant into a fund managed by Brussels.

The interior ministers of the CDU-led federal states demanded additional controls at the German border after the hard-won compromise. The federal government has "failed at the EU level to alleviate the illegal migration pressure through effective European agreements," said Hessian Interior Minister Peter Beuth (CDU), the spokesman for the CDU-led federal states, the "Bild" newspaper. Ms. Faeser should no longer close herself off to the demands for situational border controls."

"The persistently high level of illegal migration to Germany makes it necessary to introduce temporary stationary and mobile border controls at particularly affected German internal borders after consultation with the neighbouring countries concerned," Beuth continued, referring to the conference of the interior ministers of the federal and state governments next week.

In view of the increasing number of refugees, there has long been a heated debate in Germany about migration policy and the distribution of the costs of accommodating refugees. Federal states and municipalities are vehemently demanding more financial support from the federal government.