Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The de Maiziere Interview

I noticed this afternoon (Wednesday) an interview with the German Interior Minister (de Maiziere) and the Hamburg weekly (Die Zeit).  Interesting piece.

Basically the German Interior Ministry has come to agree that there's big changes required and they need to be quickly on this refugee/immigration episode.

First, he says there needs to be some change to the Basic Law (the German Constitution).  The current piece in the law says that the federal government (Berlin) can hand down grants only to the county level, and it's the job of the county to then dispense the money to cities in the region.  Even if a city performs some function in support of the refugee episode and the county gets X amount of doesn't mean that all of that money goes from the county to the city.

The hint here by de Maiziere is that the law is out of date and some county officials are not cooperating or either delaying the funds going to city departments.

The odds of a Basic Law change?  It's rare that the Basic Law ever changes, and there would have to be real agreement going past just the CDU and SPD.....the other parties would have to support this type of change.  Most cities are peeved and upset about the billing practice and demand some type of major the Bundestag might find a quick way to make this happen.

The other part of this interview is Maiziere admits that there's a priority sitting there....with winter coming and the temp facilities (tents in most cases).....will not work.  They need steel-container type shelters and real cash flow to make this happen before harsh cold temperatures arrive.....probably six weeks away.

The planners?  I'm guessing they've done the homework and know the cost of each single container building.  They also know that it'll require some significant funding if they intend to rent, and the steel container industry might be on the edge of a huge profit period if all these contracts are filled in the next three months.

Along the way in the interview, de Maiziere admits.....schools, police, housing, health.....all have to be reviewed and seen more in a long-term view.

I sat last night and observed a couple of German teachers doing an interview....they are concerned over the new students coming in and how special care would be required to bring the students up to the right level.  I know in some cases.....some Syrian kids have been in the middle of a civil war for two years now and probably have missed two entire years of schooling.....something hard to make up.

The image here?  The Berlin folks have sat there and focused on some short-term view of the big picture and kept thinking of a minor refugee crisis.  That image has come and gone.  It's almost to the point where the Chancellor needs to appoint some retired German Army general or bring someone in with unique skills (Karl-Theordor zu Guttenburg), and just give them a temporary job of fixing this mess.  Most people appreciate de Maiziere and he's a four-star executive, but he's covering a large spectrum of jobs as the Interior Minister.  This is a job for some special executive for twelve months to fix, repair, and build a sustainable system to last for the next five or six might be that long before things get to a normal state.

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