Germany expects asylum applications to double to around 400,000 in 2015 – sources
BERLIN – The German government is expecting the number of people seeking asylum to double to 400,000 in 2015, two participants at a meeting with Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Tuesday.
The minister held the 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.
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 (0.72 billion pounds) 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.
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.
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. – Reuters