January 20, 2017

Germany expects up to 300,000 migrants to arrive this year

Germany expects up to 300,000 migrants to arrive this year

Frank-Juergen Weise told newspaper Bild An Sonntag: “We’re preparing for 250,000 to 300,000 refugees this year.”

He added that if more people were to come, his office would come under pressure but suggested he was not worried about such a scenario, saying it was instead likely that fewer than 300,000 would come this year.

Germans tend to use the word refugee to refer to both refugees and migrants who are seeking protection but do not have refugee status.

The comments come hours after German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said that ChancellorAngela Merkel’s conservatives had “underestimated” the challenge of integrating a record number of migrants.

Gabriel is also leader of the Social Democrats (SPD) – the junior coalition partner in Merkel’s government – and his comments to broadcaster ZDF come as campaigning gets under way for a federal election next year.

More than one million migrants arrived in Germany from the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere last year.

Concerns about how to integrate them all into German society and the labour market are now rife and support for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) has grown.

Mr Gabriel said: “I, we always said that it’s inconceivable for Germany to take in a million people every year.”

The IAB German labour office research institute says around 16,000 are still arriving each month, compared with more than 200,000 in November.

Mr Gabriel also criticised Merkel’s catchphrase “Wir schaffen das”, meaning “We can do this”, which she adopted during the migrant crisis last summer and has repeatedly used since.

The German Chancellor used the phrase at a news conference she held in late July after a spate of attacks on civilians in Germany, including two claimed by Islamic State, that have put her open-door migrant policy in the spotlight.

More than one million migrants arrived in Germany from the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere last year

More than one million migrants arrived in Germany last year

Merkel's migrant policy has come under fire with thousands protesting

Merkel’s migrant policy has come under fire with thousands protesting

Germany is on high alert following a series of attacks which saw four passengers injured on a train in an axe attack near Wurzburg on July 18.

The 17-year-old axeman was shot dead dead by police.

Authorities have said the refugee, who may have come from Afghanistan or Pakistan, had clear longer-term ties to Islamist extremist groups.

Last month a Syrian asylum seeker blew himself up in Ansbach  outside a music festival killing himself and inuring 15 people.

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