Monday 19 March 2018

Germany expects asylum applications to double to around 400,000 in 2015

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere Credit: Hannibal Hanschke
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere Credit: Hannibal Hanschke

Thorsten Severin

The German government is expecting the number of people seeking asylum to double to 400,000 in 2015, said its Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

The minister made the comments during a meeting with members of the ruling left-right coalition late on Monday.

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) said in February that it was expecting 300,000 asylum-seekers this year, but by the end of the first quarter about 85,400 people had applied for asylum, double last year's applications in the same period.

Read More: Dozens dead in new migrants tragedy

The federal government is already under pressure for extra funds from Germany's 16 states to help them cope with the surge of asylum seekers on top of a promised 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) for 2015 and 2016.

The influx of refugees, many of whom are fleeing conflicts in Syria and Iraq, has led to tensions in some regions of Germany that have erupted into occasional violence against immigrants by suspected neo-Nazis.

Read More: Angela Merkel calls for new rules for distributing asylum seekers in Europe

Earlier this year thousands of Germans took to the streets in marches organised by anti-Islam and anti-immigration group PEGIDA in the eastern city of Dresden but its support has since waned.

Germany's states, which are obliged to take in a certain percentage of refugees based on their population, had criticised the federal government's earlier estimate for the number of asylum seekers as too low.

Read More: Terrified face brings plight of Eritreans into focus

Financial aid is one of the issues due to be discussed at a top-level crisis meeting on refugees at the chancellery in Berlin on Friday


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