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Gauck: Refugees offer hope for German future
Photo: DPA

Gauck: Refugees offer hope for German future

Published: 16 Jan 2013 07:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Jan 2013 07:00 GMT+01:00

President Joachim Gauck has called on Germans to see refugees and immigrants as a chance for the country's future, saying they should be welcomed with open arms as they could help maintain living standards for coming generations.

He spoke as the Interior Ministry released figures showing that the number of applications for asylum had risen by 41 percent during 2012, with more people fleeing Syria and the Balkans than previously.

"We need open doors for the persecuted, and not only due to our constitution and our history but also for economic reasons," said Gauck on Tuesday.

"Immigrants can help us to keep the living standards from today into the next generation - they should be greeted by the people with open hearts or at least be accepted gladly." It was time for a new welcoming culture, he said.

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees said that last year 6,201 people from Syria applied for asylum in Germany - an increase of 135 percent on the previous year. Syrians fleeing the civil war at home formed the third largest group applying for asylum in Germany after Serbians and Afghans.

More than two thirds of those who escaped Syria were granted protection from extradition.

Last year just over 64,500 people applied for asylum in Germany, just over 14 percent of whom were granted refugee status. A further 13.5 percent were given protection from extradition, while 49.7 percent saw their application rejected.

Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said the increase in Syrian refugees was to be expected considering the civil war in the country. But what he called an enormous rise in applications from the western Balkan states had not been foreseeable as he said there was not generally political persecution there.

The second half of the year saw a particularly strong rise in asylum applications by people from Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, yet none could prove asylum-relevant persecution, the Interior Ministry said. The most applications last year came from Serbia, with 8,477 people saying they had no option but to leave.

Human rights organisation Pro Asyl said every case should be examined carefully, and said the rapid assessments which were used to decide on people from Serbia and Macedonia, were, "the opposite of an unbiased examination."

The argument that the fact that none had been granted asylum proved there were no grounds for their applications was a dangerous, circular conclusion, the group said.

DAPD/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:45 January 16, 2013 by jg.
"Immigrants can help us to keep the living standards from today into the next generation..."

Really? How does that work? Experience in the UK would suggest the exact opposite, About half of the the immigrants brought in to the UK to solve non-existent shortages of IT workers have ended up in low level jobs, such as cleaning. This has only served to depress wages and remove job opportunities for those that need them most. The influx of refugees has created ghettos in some areas, with citizens moving away if they can.
12:02 January 16, 2013 by Dalmation
I suspect President Joachim Gauck is representing employers wishes for more cheap labour.
12:47 January 16, 2013 by www.emungus.net
HUMAN BEINGS ARE MIGRATORY SPECIES

One may feel or spot a note of hypocrisy somewhere... However, words are so mild that it is cute to hear. Somehow everyone is or has been somewhat a migrant ...Well, mankind is always in motion. Certainly this view of mine is questionable since any attempt to meet everyone¦#39;s understanding is an out-of-reach exercise. Nevertheless, we hardly can question the fact that human beings are migratory species.
13:07 January 16, 2013 by Zubair Khan
@ www.emungus.net.

Well said and no other way but to ensdorse it.
13:07 January 16, 2013 by michael4096
@jg.

"About half of the the immigrants brought in to the UK to solve non-existent shortages of IT workers have ended up in low level jobs, such as cleaning."

Yer! No reason why British IT workers can't do the cleaning! Then we can have a real shortage of IT workers and the immigrants can do what they came for!
16:29 January 16, 2013 by raandy
Mr. Gauck is a minister and reaching out to those in need should and from what I read is his craft.

but

Be careful what you wish for its not always a win win situation. Educated and skilled immigrants from EU areas should be the first priority, they are more likely to assimilate faster. The non EU members from poor and war torn countries will cost the tax payers more but Germany seems eager to step up to the plate and I hope for the best.
18:18 January 23, 2013 by arhracho
So how does adding thousands of people to your welfare system help the country? Did you not learn from your Turkish experience? Let's bring in more potential terrorists! As an American service member who lived in Germany in the early eighties, I could not believe the drastic changes I saw when I visited Germany last year. Changes not for the better I should mention. There was very little crime back then, Germans have given up control of their border, allowing hundreds of thousands of people of all sorts to drag down your support , criminal, and education systems. Like the saying goes: The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.
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