• 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
Fugitive ex-terrorists 'on huge crime spree' in north Germany
(L-r): ex-RAF members Volker Staub, Daniela Klette, and Burkhard Garweg. Photo: BKA

In their struggle against capitalism they once murdered businessmen and politicians. Now three ex-terrorists have taken to robbing supermarkets - and rather successfully, too.

Scooter singer finally reveals how much the fish cost
H.P. Baxxter. Photo: DPA

It is the question Germans have wanted to know the answer to for almost two decades - and now they have the answer, thanks to a US talkshow host.

'I'm definitely not a paedophile': disgraced MP
Former MP Sebastian Edathy is in hiding after a child pornography scandal destroyed his career. Photo: DPA

Former MP Sebastian Edathy quit his job and left Germany after videos of naked children were found on his computer.

Weekend promises storms, humidity - and a bit of sun
A storm in Cuxhaven last weekend. Photo: DPA

The forecast for the coming days isn’t the pristine blue skies many of us are longing for. But, in among the storms, the sun will still peek out.

Prosecutors take aim at unedited Hitler book
An original edition of 'Mein Kampf' featuring a photo of Hitler on an inside cover. Photo: DPA

German prosecutors said on Thursday they were investigating whether to bring charges against a publisher who has promised to print a version of Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic manifesto "Mein Kampf" without annotations.

VW bets on battery factory for electric car dominance
A VW logo is seen in front of a plugged-in electric car. Photo: DPA

Scandal-hit car giant Volkswagen is set to sink huge sums into building a factory for batteries to power its future electric cars, German media reported on Friday.

Raging ticket controller seizes Chinese traveler's passport
File photo of a plainclothes ticket controller. Photo: DPA.

Germany's national rail operator is in hot water after a ticket controller reacted aggressively to a newly arrived Chinese traveler who made one of the most basic transit mistakes: forgetting to stamp her ticket.

Berlin politician crusades for health of skateboarding dog
File photo: DPA

Can a canine enjoy skateboarding? That's the question Berlin politicians are struggling to address in a row over a dog on four wheels.

Police hunt Brits who Hitler-saluted in concentration camp
Buchenwald. Photo: DPA

Authorities in Germany are searching for two British men who took a picture of themselves performing a Nazi salute in a torture chamber in Buchenwald concentration camp.

Far-right tries to lure voters with own-brand gummy bears

Germany's far-right party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), have come up with an unusual marketing strategy on their website.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Society
Pegida enraged by black children on chocolate bars
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
National
Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
Lifestyle
10 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
Politics
MP recites explicit Erdogan bestiality poem on live TV
National
China beats Germany in readiness to help refugees
Hamburg
Headless Lübeck corpse turns out to be discarded sex doll
National
Pensioner claims to have found hidden Nazi nukes
Business & Money
Here's why Munich is worth 20 times more than Berlin
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Sport
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
National
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
7,841
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd