Germany: Migrants In, Germans Out – The Death of Property Rights
September 30, 2015 10 Comments
I haven’t confirmed this, but I also have little trouble in believing it. The rule of law run rather shallow lately, not least in Europe where the tradition is not deep anyway. But how many times have we seen it violated in its home(s) in the US and UK lately as well. So be aware, it looks like this is happening, at least to some observers. Can it here? Well I reckon they can (and likely will) try.
- Hamburg city officials say that owners of vacant real estate have refused to make their property available to the city on a voluntary basis, and thus the city should be given the right to take it by force.
- “The proposed confiscation of private land and buildings is a massive attack on the property rights of the citizens of Hamburg. It amounts to an expropriation by the state [and a] “law of intimidation.” — André Trepoll, Christian Democratic Union.
- “If a property is confiscated… a lawsuit to determine the legality of the confiscation can only be resolved after the fact. But the accommodation would succeed in any event.” — Tübingen Mayor Boris Palmer.
- Officials in North Rhine-Westphalia seized a private resort in the town of Olpe to provide housing for up to 400 migrants
- “I find it impossible to understand how the city can treat me like this. I have struggled through life with grief and sorrow and now I get an eviction notice. It is a like a kick in the stomach.” — Bettina Halbey, 51-year-old nurse, after being notified that she must vacate her apartment so that migrants can move in.
- The landlord is being paid 552 euros ($617) for each migrant he takes in. By cramming as many migrants into his property as possible, he stands to receive payments of more than 2 million euros a year from government.
- “Considering that migrants cannot afford to rent new properties… moves must be initiated in which higher income households purchase or build more expensive accommodations for themselves in order to free up the less expensive housing for migrants.” — The Berlin Institute for Urban Development, the Housing Industry and Loan Associations
- “I saw an unbelievable situation: the elderly volunteer lifted the table halfway, looked at the migrant and moved his head asking the migrant to lend a hand. The migrant paused for a moment and then just walked away.” — Firsthand account, refugee shelter.
German authorities are applying heavy-handed tactics to find housing for the hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees pouring into the country from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
With existing shelters filled to capacity, federal, state and local authorities are now using legally and morally dubious measures — including the expropriation of private property and the eviction of German citizens from their homes — to make room for the newcomers.
German taxpayers are also being obliged to make colossal economic sacrifices to accommodate the influx of migrants, many of whom have no prospect of ever finding a job in the country. Sustaining the 800,000 migrants and refugees who are expected to arrive in Germany in 2015 will cost taxpayers at least at least 11 billion euros ($12 billion) a year for years to come.
As the migration crisis intensifies, and Germans are waking up to the sheer scale of the economic, financial and social costs they will [be] expected to bear in the years ahead, anger is brewing.
In Hamburg, the second-largest city in Germany, municipal officials on September 23 introduced an audacious bill in the local parliament (Hamburgische Bürgerschaft) that would allow the city to seize vacant commercial real estate (office buildings and land) and use it to house migrants.
City officials argue the measure is necessary because more than 400 new migrants are arriving in Hamburg each day and all the existing refugee shelters are full. They say that owners of vacant real estate have refused to make their property available to the city on a voluntary basis, and thus the city should be given the right to take it by force.
The measure, which will be voted upon in the Hamburg parliament within the next two weeks, is being applauded by those on the left of the political spectrum. “We are doing everything we can to ensure that the refugees are not homeless during the coming winter,” Senator Till Steffen of the Green Party said. “For this reason, we need to use vacant commercial properties.”
Others argue that efforts by the state to seize private property is autocratic and reeks of Communism. “The proposed confiscation of private land and buildings is a massive attack on the property rights of the citizens of Hamburg,” said André Trepoll of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU). “It amounts to an expropriation by the state.” He said the proposed measure is a “law of intimidation” that amounts to a “political dam break with far-reaching implications.” He added: “The ends do not justify any and all means.”