Up to 300,000 refugees will arrive in Germany this year, the head of the country’s migration office has said in a newspaper interview.
The latest projections were disclosed by Frank-Jürgen Weise in an interview with Bild am Sonntag.
However the figures represent a dramatic drop compared with last year, when more than a million migrants flocked to Germany from the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere
The figures emerged as Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s vice chancellor said that Angela Merkel had “underestimated” the challenge of integrating a record migrant influx.
Gabriel is also leader of the Social Democrats (SPD) – the junior coalition partner in Merkel’s government – and his comments to broadcaster ZDF come as campaigning gets under way for a federal election next year.
Concerns about how to integrate them all into German society and the labour market are now rife and support for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) has grown.
“I, we always said that it’s inconceivable for Germany to take in a million people every year,” Gabriel said in extracts of an interview released on Saturday.
The IAB German labour office research institute says around 16,000 are still arriving each month, compared with more than 200,000 in November.
Gabriel also criticised Merkel’s catchphrase “Wir schaffen das”, meaning “We can do this”, which she adopted during the migrant crisis last summer and has repeatedly used since.
Merkel used the phrase at a news conference she held in late July after a spate of attacks on civilians in Germany, including two claimed by Islamic State, that have put her open-door migrant policy in the spotlight. Her popularity has slipped since those attacks.
Gabriel said repeating that phrase was not enough and the conservatives needed to create the conditions for Germany to be able to cope, adding that the conservatives had always blocked opportunities to do that.
News Source TelegraphNews