Merkel wants more immigration – friedrich puts the brakes on

Merkel wants more immigration - friedrich puts the brakes on

By 2025, there will be about six million fewer people of working age in germany, merkel said at the federal government’s second demographic summit in berlin. She also called for more mobility on the european labor market.

Minister of the interior hans-peter friedrich (CSU) advised to first use the potentials in the home country and the eu. But he warned: "it is an illusion to believe that we can solve the demographic change through immigration alone."

According to calculations, germany will lose one-fifth of its population by 2060. One in three will be 65 or older. This has serious consequences for all areas of society – such as the labor market or the social systems. In berlin, the federal government discussed the challenges with representatives from the states and municipalities, from business and social associations.

The opposition accused the government of failure. The SPD complained that the government had completely slept through demographic change. The left spoke of a "pure show event". The greens contended that the government had no concept and was sitting out the problems.

Before the demographic summit, FDP leader philipp rosler had demanded clear signals from the coalition partner union for more immigration to solve the problems. CDU vice president armin laschet had called for significantly more immigration of qualified workers from non-EU countries. Friedrich, however, rejected this. Priority is given to the labor market potential in germany and other eu countries, especially in southern europe, where there is dramatic unemployment. "It makes little sense for us to let people come to germany unchecked."

Merkel spoke out in favor of harmonizing social security systems in europe so that people could, for example, take pension entitlements with them to another country as easily as possible. Germany also needs to do something about its bad reputation when it comes to immigration: "we are considered to be closed."

Business representatives also called for a better welcoming culture in germany. The president of the association of chambers of industry and commerce, eric schweitzer, said on the ZDF "morgenmagazin" that people must be told clearly that immigration does not lead to dumping wages, but rather secures prosperity.

Merkel said that germany must respond to demographic change in many areas, including family policy and education. It’s important to start early and not put too much of a burden on future generations.

The president of the german landkreistag, hans jorg duppre, said the summit was a step in the right direction. But there is still much to do. Duppre calls for, among other things, a special investment program for rural areas. The chairwoman of the minister-presidents’ conference, thuringia’s head of government christine lieberknecht (CDU), also demanded money for projects in sparsely populated rural regions.

Federal finance minister wolfgang schauble (CDU) canceled his speech at short notice for scheduling reasons. His representative, state secretary steffen kampeter (CDU), said demographic change was causing major costs. The biggest items of expenditure are pensions, care and health. There are also major challenges on the revenue side. One of the instruments for counteracting this is more qualified immigration.

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