German Social Democrats launch xenophobic campaign about child benefits


German Social Democrats launch xenophobic campaign about child benefits

Christopher Lehmann

14 August 2018

In the spring, the German government used the so-called BAMF affair, in which the Federal Office for Immigration and Refugees (BAMF) office in Bremen was accused of wrongfully granting asylum to more than a thousand refugees between 2013 and 2016 whose applications had been dismissed in other federal states, in order to whip up anti-refugee sentiment.

Now, it is launching its next xenophobic campaign.

On last Thursday’s “Tagesthemen” TV news programme, Social Democratic Party (SPD) mayor Sören Link ranted against European Union (EU) nationals who were allegedly flocking to Germany to fraudulently obtain social welfare payments such as child benefits. Since then, leading Social Democrats have been banging the drum for cuts in child support payments to families of European workers and plying racist sentiments in the style of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), among other things.

“We have about 19,000 people from Romania and Bulgaria in Duisburg, Sinti and Roma. In 2012, we only had 6,000,” Link agitated. “They do not come for work, but for social benefits.” He had to “deal with people here, who spill rubbish on the streets and exacerbate the rat problem.” Neighbours felt “disturbed by mountains of garbage, noise and rat infestations.” He had set up a task force to “tackle” the alleged “problem properties” of the Sinti and Roma.

Link’s statements are no different from those of the far-right. In a Facebook post on August 9, the AfD parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel wrote almost word for word: “More and more child support is flowing into other European countries. … In addition, many cities are sounding the alarm…

Read more