Former federal interior minister thomas de maiziere said he was not involved in the alleged misconduct at the bremen office of the federal office for migration and refugees (bamf).
"As interior minister, i naturally bear full political responsibility for all events that took place in my area of responsibility during my time in office," the CDU politician added on friday in berlin before a special session of the interior committee on the subject.
"At the same time, i would like to point out that we all have and had a social responsibility, especially in this question, state, society, media," said de maiziere. Alluding to the heavy influx of refugees starting in 2015, he said, "everyone knew how difficult it was at the bamf, and everyone wanted quick, quick, quick decisions. That this causes problems was also clear to everyone at the time. This should not be forgotten today."
According to the german press agency, de maiziere said in committee that it was not possible to multiply the staff of an agency, motivate it to high performance and at the same time restructure it.
In the bamf deaf office in bremen, about 1200 people are said to have received asylum without a legal basis. The public prosecutor’s office is investigating.
The number of asylum seekers has increased threefold in just a few years, said mathias middelberg, the interior policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group. This was also the reason for the problems at the bamf. "The questioning has now not shown that concrete mistakes were made or concrete failures were found," he said. However, there were no "quantitative requirements, for example from the chancellor’s office" for the work of the bamf.
The green member of parliament, konstantin von notz, said that neither de maiziere nor the federal government’s refugee coordinator at the time, now economics minister peter altmaier, claimed to have done everything right. However, they had pointed out that the situation had been very unusual. "And this situation had to be dealt with, and this was done to the best of our knowledge and belief."
There was criticism of hans-peter friedrich (CSU), who was minister of the interior from 2011 to 2013. Even then, an increase in the number of refugees had been foreseeable, said luise amtsberg, a member of the grunen parliament. Friedrich rejects any responsibility. "It was not foreseeable at the time that 2015 would actually see such a political blunder with such devastating consequences (…) was taken," said friedrich. "And the consequences can still be felt today. We are still suffering from it."
During the refugee crisis, there had been great pressure to speed up asylum procedures, said CDU member of parliament armin schuster. "It was the order of the day to put pressure on the bamf – pay, pay, pay."He had criticized the government’s decisions on accepting refugees at the time. But it was clear: "we have an exceptional humanitarian situation that we do not want to refuse politically. That’s why we decided politically to deliberately go into an uberforderung that also produces mistakes."On the other hand, no asylum seekers had slept in tents or camped under bridges. "The error rate is unacceptable, but it is understandable in view of this unpredictable force."