September 2016: Reception Facility for Asylum‐Seekers of the Regional Government of Upper Bavaria – Fürstenfeldbruck Branch
In September 2014, the Regional Government of Upper Bavaria set up a branch of the Munich initial reception facility (EAE) at Fürstenfeldbruck air base on short notice due to the high number of refugees arriving in Bavaria. At that time, the site was permitted for military use, which means that the municipality had no chance but to accept that.
In November 2015, this part of the site was released from military use. The Regional Government of Upper Bavaria did not file a building permit for the current “civil” use.
In April 2016, the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs informed the municipality of Fürstenfeldbruck about its plans to convert the site into a temporary reception facility (KAE) with up to 1,000 beds, structural extensions and, what is more, for a term of use of at least 10 years.
A short explanation: Temporary reception is part of a multi‐stage reception system consisting of an arrival center, temporary reception and branches of the EAE. After the asylum seekers reach the arrival center at Euro‐Industriepark Munich, they are to be brought to the KAE in Fürstenfeldbruck. Following this, there will be a distribution to the respective branches, as the case may be.
The town council clearly voiced its reservations about the plans of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and the Government of Upper Bavaria. On the one hand, the concentration of such a high a number of asylum seekers in the small town of Fürstenfeldbruck was considered critical. On the other hand, due to the restructuring there is reason to fear that in particular the asylum seekers, whose prospects of being granted asylum status, still remain from unclear to negative and whose asylum procedures can take months to years, will be accommodated at the KAE. Moreover, there was a lack of understanding about the planned length of use until 2026 mainly because the municipality had assumed that the branch would be dissolved in the year of 2020 along with the withdrawal of the Bundeswehr.
In the context of the conversion, the long‐term existence of such reception facility located in the immediate vicinity of the town center means a curtailment in urban development and infrastructural restrictions as well as financial disadvantages. In addition, the implementation of the site development guidelines decided upon in March 2015 cannot be ensured for a term of more than five years of use. It also remains unclear to what extent the municipality may be held accountable for tasks such as providing kindergartens and schools as well as accommodations etc., which may lie ahead. The unspecific statements of the Local Government of Upper Bavaria on allocation numbers and lengths of stay as well as the lacking willingness to exclude the set‐up of further reception facilities in Fürstenfeldbruck and the unequivocal distribution system encouraged the town council in their critical attitude.
On 10th May, 23rd August and most recently on 12th September, the town council therefore decided to reject the set‐up of a long‐term facility and only agreed on the temporary use and this only under certain conditions.
Several negotiation rounds conducted from May to August 2016 among the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the Government of Upper Bavaria and the municipality of Fürstenfeldbruck did not bring about an agreement. For this reason, amongst others, the decision was taken to prepare a zoning plan “F4 Air Base – former aviation school area”. The zoning plan is intended to link the reception facility’s length of use (until 2021) and the release date for the remaining military area so that an agreed urban development can be initiated at least in the south‐western part of the conversion area. There, the legal planning requirements for a compatible follow‐up use such as residential building areas and public facilities are to be made possible. The zoning plan procedure will soon be published. The citizens can also comment on this issue.