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Germany 'could lift border controls in May'

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Germany 'could lift border controls in May'
Photo: DPA

Germany could lift temporary border controls brought in last year to help stem the migrant flow by mid-May if the number of arrivals continues to dwindle, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Tuesday.

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"We would not extend the border controls beyond May 12th if the numbers remain this low," he told Austrian national broadcaster ORF, referring to a recent drop in arrivals following the closure of the main Balkan migrant trail.

De Maiziere made the comments following a meeting of interior ministers from German-speaking countries in the Austrian capital.

The controls on the Austrian border were introduced last September when more than 10,000 migrants and refugees were arriving in Germany on a daily basis.

A majority of them were fleeing war and violence in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Many had undertaken a dangerous sea journey from Turkey to Greece,before trekking up the western Balkans in their bid to reach northern EU nations.

Germany let in a record 1.1 million migrants last year as the continent grapples with its worst migration crisis since the Second World War.

But de Maiziere said the number of asylum-seekers has taken a plunge following border clampdowns by Austria and other countries along the Balkan route in February.

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