• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Govt denies plan to cut refugee numbers by half
Refugees arrive at the train station in Passau, Bavaria, after passing through Austria in November 2015. Photo: DPA

Govt denies plan to cut refugee numbers by half

DPA/The Local · 16 Feb 2016, 10:54

Published: 16 Feb 2016 08:43 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Feb 2016 10:54 GMT+01:00

The Rheinische Post reported early on Tuesday that the Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière had ordered the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees to be prepared to process 500,000 asylum applications this year.

But an Interior Ministry spokesman later told The Local that "there is no specification [of the number of refugees] from the Interior Ministry and no new forecast [of refugee arrivals]."

What's more, the 500,000 figure directly contradicts BAMF head Frank-Jürgen Weise, who said last week that he expected to deal with more than a million cases this year.

500,000 would be a massive decrease compared with the number of refugees who arrived in 2015, with the final count standing at 1.1 million.

The Rheinische Post further reports that 370,000 files are still awaiting processing at the BAMF.

And there are up to 400,000 refugees who arrived in 2015 who have not yet been able to submit an application because of the backlog.

Workers at the BAMF – which has taken on large numbers of extra staff since the uptick in refugee arrivals – might be able to reduce the number of outstanding cases if the government can really keep arrivals down to 500,000.

Crunch EU summit this week

Chancellor Angela Merkel hopes to make progress towards reducing arrivals at a European summit on Thursday and Friday.

Leaders of the 28 EU nations are gathering to discuss the refugee crisis, with Germany hoping to secure beefed-up protection for the Union's external borders, faster work to create "hot-spot" registration centres in Greece and Italy, and a system to share out refugees among different countries.

But she faces stiff resistance from Greece, which says it has not received the resources it needs to act as Europe's front-line in the refugee crisis, and eastern European nations including Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, which are highly resistant to taking refugees.

Story continues below…

Even France has in recent days begun showing a tougher face, saying that it would not take any more refugees than the 30,000 it had already agreed.

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister David Cameron is heading to Brussels with a very different agenda, hoping to lock down a new deal for Britain that will convince his country to stay in the European Union at a referendum expected this year or next year.

Talks to avoid a Brexit are likely to last deep into the night and could distract from the refugee question.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
I’m ashamed of Germany’s refugee failure: Green leader
Cem Özdemir. Photo: DPA

The head of the Green Party has responded angrily to Angela Merkel’s speech on refugees on Friday, saying he feels “ashamed at Germany’s failure".

German satirists mock Erdogan (and his penis)
Photo: DPA

Tempting fate?

Huge pro-Erdogan rally puts strain on Turkish community
Erdogan supporters at a rally in 2014. Photo: DPA

Tens of thousands of supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plan to rally in Cologne on Sunday, as tensions over Turkey's failed coup have put German authorities on edge.

Opinion
How the Berlin startup scene is wasting its potential
Photo: DPA

"The truth is, there really isn't a truly successful international Berlin startup."

Five years' jail for German darknet weapons dealer
Photo: DPA

He had sold weapons to known Isis-sympathizers and far-right extremists.

Prickly Bavarian calls out cops on hedgehogs' noisy sex
Photo: DPA

Caught in the act.

International or German state school - which one's best?
Photo: DPA

Deciding between sending your child to a German state school or a private international school isn't easy. Max Bringmann has experienced both.

13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make

Sure-fire ways to get off on the wrong foot in the German language.

Captain Schweinsteiger retires from international football
Bastian Schweinsteiger. Photo: DPA

He has won a World Cup with Die Mannschaft and captained them at Euro 2016. On Friday Bastian Schweinsteiger announced his retirement from the national team.

Woman accused of false rape allegation at Cologne NYE
Cologne on New Year's Eve. Photo: DPA

According to latest reports, the woman was not even in Cologne on New Year's Eve.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
10,786
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd