Germany's Scholz Faces Pressure to Curb Migration as He Meets State Governors

BERLIN (AP) -- Chancellor Olaf Scholz is to meet Germany's 16 state governors on Monday to address ways to deal with large numbers of migrants, an issue that has become a huge political problem for the government.

Shelters for migrants and refugees are filling up and Scholz, who faces enormous pressure from the opposition and elsewhere to halt that trend, has said that "too many are coming." The country also has seen more than 1 million Ukrainians arrive since the start of Russia's war in their homeland.

Over recent weeks, there has been a flurry of government activity, including legislation to ease deportations of unsuccessful asylum-seekers, to stiffen punishment for smugglers and to allow asylum-seekers to start working sooner, and the introduction of temporary checks on the Polish, Czech and Swiss borders.

The center-left Scholz also has discussed the issue twice with the conservative opposition leader since state elections last month brought poor results for his quarrelsome three-party coalition and gains for a far-right party.

He faces pressure for results at Monday's meeting with the state governors, who want more money from the federal government to deal with the costs of hosting migrants.

But "the key to being able to integrate people better is simply the number -- we must end irregular migration so that we can do justice with good integration to the people seeking protection here," Hendrik Wuest, the conservative governor of North Rhine-Westphalia state, told ARD television.

Wuest said measures that could help include ensuring faster asylum proceedings for migrants from countries from which fewer than 5% of applicants are granted asylum. He also pointed to the idea of conducting proceedings in Africa, for which there also is sympathy in parts of Scholz's party.

Scholz, whose government is trying to negotiate agreements for countries to take unsuccessful asylum-seekers back in exchange for more opportunities for legal immigration, has signaled skepticism.

"There are a lot of proposals where one should perhaps ask third countries what they have to say before one begins discussing them in detail," he said during a visit to Ghana last week.