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Left party accuses AfD of harboring ‘conspiracy narratives’ on family policy

In Germany, the Left Party in the Saxon state parliament has accused the AfD of deliberately using conspiracy narratives.

Published: February 5, 2020, 8:00 am

    The AfD member of parliament, Rolf Weigand, asked that women of childbearing potential each year from 2010 to 2018, be broken down by districts, age and nationality. The left-wing MP, Sarah Buddeberg, called it “simply abnormal” to ask anything about nationality, reported broadcaster Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR). According to her, it’s “conspiracy theories about population replacement“.

    Buddeberg was also bothered by the term “of childbearing age”. The wording has fallen out of fashion and reduced women “to their role as childbearing machines”. The request allgedly “further divided society”.

    Weigand, who is also chairman of the Junge Alternative in Sachsen – the youth wing of the AfD – commented on the allegations on Facebook. He pointed out that he had used the common wording that the State Statistics Office also uses.

    The numbers are necessary in order to be able to put forward “a better family policy for our Saxon families”, as the AfD promises in its programme. Anyone who dismisses this as a conspiracy theory should “first knock on their own ideologically blind door”.

    The general secretary of the Saxon SPD, Henning Homann, described the request as the “usual outrage strategy” of the AfD. The party hopes for public scandal he said. On the other hand, Homann suggested: “We should defend the diversity in our country”.

    But while some politicians welcome the influx of potential voters for their cause, the Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) has complained about the lack of protection of the EU’s external borders and has praised successes in the control of the German borders.

    According to the AFP news agency, he described a reform of the common EU asylum policy on Tuesday at the European Police Congress as just as important as the “Green Deal” announced by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) for more climate protection.

    The Dublin procedure does not work, he complained. “We don’t even get an answer to our letters from most countries.” According to the Dublin procedure, an asylum seeker is sent back to the EU country in which he first applied for asylum.

    Seehofer nevertheless rated the national measures to protect Germany’s external borders as positive. That is why he also wants to adhere to border controls. They were “a few hundred people who had been banned from entering the country and twice the number of people who were being sought with an arrest warrant”, who had been picked up during the border controls. That is an “unbelievable” order of magnitude, he said.

    One finding from the stronger border surveillance was “that there is a huge amount of border crossings”.

    The Grand Coalition in Germany has already spent 42,8 million euros on public relations this year to try and convince Germans of the positive side of immigration. Compared to 2014, when the Union and the SPD allocated 26,3 million to their PR departments, spending increased by 63 percent, according to a response from the federal government to an FDP request reported in the Handelsblatt.

    According to the report, the budget of the Federal Press Office this year amounts to 131 million euros.

    FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr accused the grand coalition of unsuccessful attempts to “try to wrap bad politics nicely” with large amounts of money.

    In December, a request from the AfD politician Leif-Erik Holm revealed that between January and October last year the Union and SPD spent almost four million euros alone on advertising contributions on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

    The Federal Ministry of Labour has the largest PR budget with 11,1 million euros. The Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media increased their financial volume from EUR 80 000 to EUR 459 000. The costs for the same purpose at the Ministry of Justice were 271 000 euros six years ago – now it is now 1,2 million euros.

    Dürr criticized the federal government’s financial expenditure for its public relations work and demanded that the tax revenue be used elsewhere “instead of wasting taxpayers’ money on insane advertising measures”.

    According to a recent study, only half of the migrants who have come to Germany in recent years have a job. “Five years after the influx, 49 percent, almost half of the refugees, are employed, a good 80 percent of them are subject to social security contributions,” migration researcher Herbert Brücker told Tagesspiegel and referred to the report by the Institute for Labor Market and Vocational Research (IAB). The institute is the research institution of the Federal Employment Agency.

    The migrants are also starting work faster than before 2013, says Brücker, who heads the research area Migration and Integration at the IAB. “This probably has something to do with the fact that we are now doing more for them: we offer language and integration programs, which previously did not exist or not to this extent.” This increases employment opportunities he said.

    According to the report, 57 percent of the refugees are skilled workers. Only 25 percent have a university degree or vocational training. Brücker explained that many asylum seekers in their home countries received professional qualifications through professional training instead of undergoing training as in this country.

    In the past, Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche publicly claimed that “most refugees are young, well educated and highly motivated” and also spoke of a possible “new economic miracle”. But a study in March last year had shown that immigrants who came to Germany during the asylum crisis passed an intelligence test putting them on par only with German high school students.

    At the beginning of February, the head of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, Hans-Eckard Sommer, confirmed that 17 percent of the migrants in the integration courses were illiterate. It was mainly migrants, he told the Rheinische Post.

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