• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Refugee arrivals plunged by a third in February
Photo: DPA

Refugee arrivals plunged by a third in February

AFP/The Local · 8 Mar 2016, 12:26

Published: 08 Mar 2016 10:53 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Mar 2016 12:26 GMT+01:00

Germany recorded 61,428 asylum seekers in February, down by a third from January, data released Tuesday by the Interior Ministry showed.

Syrians made up the biggest group of people seeking refuge, with 24,612 arriving in February, while Iraqi and Afghan asylum seekers numbered around 12,000 from each place.

Not all of the newcomers have filed official asylum requests and only some will be allowed to stay as Germany has vowed to send back all "economic migrants" from countries at peace.

The figure may also include repeated registrations in different German regional states and people who have since moved on to other European Union countries.

Nevertheless, the sharp drop in new arrival numbers from January is expected to come as welcome news to Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has found herself under fire at home over her liberal refugee policy after around 1.1 million asylum seekers arrived in 2015 alone.

Although she has refused to slam the door shut, Merkel has campaigned for an EU-wide solution to the crisis that includes strengthening Europe's external borders and making a deal with Turkey to stop the irregular migrant flows.

'Drop the pub politics'

Professor Wolfgang Kaschuba, director of the Berlin Institute for Research on Integration and Migration (BIM), told The Local that the reduction in arrivals reflects the fact that far fewer people are coming to Europe.

"Many families in the refugee camps don’t want to come to Europe and those that do don’t have the money any more - they have already invested it in a son," Kaschuba said.

The idea that millions of refugees around the globe all want to come to Europe is "nonsense" he said, arguing that most Syrians want to stay near their country because that is where their properties and wealth lie.

Two other critical factors in the drop in numbers are the poor winter weather and the closing of borders along the Balkan route.

Story continues below…

The closing of borders has become "central" in recent weeks, says Kaschuba.

"This will have been very quickly communicated back down the refugee routes via smart phone,” the BIM director says.

Whether the reduction in arrivals is a long-term trend will depend on whether European leaders “drop the populist pub politics and start following European and world politics” Kaschuba says.

For the Berlin-based academic, that means making sure warring factions in Syria stick to the terms of a recently instituted ceasefire arranged, and providing food and education services to the camps in neighbouring countries.

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

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
No injuries after blast near Bavarian migrant centre
A sign at the Zirndorf migrant centre. Photo: DPA

A suitcase, likely packed with aerosol cans, has blown up near a migrant centre on the outskirts of Nuremberg, causing no injuries, police confirm.

Not your average student digs: 'amazing' plastic bubble
Photo: DPA

Could this wacky experiment be the future of student housing?

Police settle train violence over smelly feet
Not the feet in question. Photo: Caitlin Regan/Flickr

A fellow passenger's foot odour proved too much for one traveller to stomach.

How Berliners are responding to the Bavaria attacks
Photo: DPA

Is fear of terrorism creeping up on the capital?

Munich gunman was far-right racist: media reports
Photo: DPA

According to research by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the Munich gunman was proud to have been born on the same day as Hitler and hated Turks and Arabs.

Ansbach suicide attack
Ansbach bomber ‘influenced’ by third person: officials
Photo: DPA

Officials in Bavaria have said that the man who blew himself up in an apparent Islamist attack on Sunday was influenced by an as yet unknown person.

What is the link between the attacks in Germany last week?
Police on guard in Munich. Photo: DPA

And how likely are 'copycat' attacks?

Rights experts call for calm after string of violent attacks
Bavaria has called for soldiers to protect the German border. Photo: DPA

Human rights groups and legal experts are warning the government to react responsibly to the attacks and rampages which have taken place in Germany in recent days.

France church attacker had been arrested in Germany
Photo: DPA

A neighbour described the man as a "ticking time bomb".

Dutch join hunt for German terrorists-turned-outlaws
From left to right: Ernst-Volker Staub, Daniela Klette and Burkhard Garweg. Photo: DPA.

Dutch police on Tuesday told people to be on the lookout for three German far-left militants, at large for decades and suspected of a string of recent heists.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
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'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
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
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
11,129
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd