Germany spent a record €23 billion ($25.65 billion) last year to integrate more than a million refugees at home and “fight the root causes of migration abroad,” according to German government report.
Describing the circumstances as “extraordinary,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel rolled out the welcome mat to over a million migrants in 2015, at the height of the Syrian refugee crisis. Although arrivals have dropped sharply since then, the German government’s spending has not.
The federal government spent €23 billion on integrating those migrants in Germany and keeping more hopeful entrants outside the European Union, according to a Finance Ministry report. The spending represents an increase of nearly 11 percent since the previous year.
Of this sum, €7.9 billion was spent on measures aimed at keeping more potential arrivals out of the EU and improving living conditions in their home countries. Although Merkel has defended her decision to welcome migrants to Germany, the government spent 16 percent more on keeping them out last year than it did in 2017.
Merkel’s cabinet is expected to discuss the cost of integration on Wednesday. Speaking at a rally in Berlin last week, Merkel told a crowd of immigrants, and young people born to immigrants, that “our country must be a country of immigration and of integration.”
Merkel’s fanatical defense of immigration has angered the German right political parties, including the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which four years after its founding became the third-largest party in the German Parliament in 2017.
“This is a costly welcome party at the expense of citizens,” AfD parliamentary leader Alice Weidel said in response to the government’s spending on migrants.