Germany fears up to 1.5mn refugees to arrive in 2015, calls for limits on influx to EU

© Michaela Rehle
The number of refugees and migrants expected to arrive in Germany by the end of 2015 has soared to 1.5mn, according to Bild newspaper, citing a government report. Meanwhile German politicians say that the EU must take immediate measures to limit numbers.

Citing an internal and confidential government forecast, one of Germany’s top newspapers reported that officials have revised their estimates on the number of asylum seekers and migrants to enter the country by the end of the year.

“Migratory pressures will increase further. We now expect seven to ten thousand illegal border crossings every day in the fourth quarter,” Bild cited the report as saying. “This high number of asylum seekers runs the risk of becoming an extreme burden for the states and municipalities.”

The number of asylum seekers is hitting an all-time record, according to Minister-President of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, who earlier this week acknowledged almost 170,000 registered arrivals in the region in September alone. According to Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere the daily influx has recently soared to up to 10,000 people.

Germany’s abilities to accept and handle refugees and migrants are not infinite and the country’s capacity is now strained to the limit, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in interview with ZDF on Sunday.

Europe must be ready to accept asylum seekers, but must be able to help everyone it receives, Schaeuble said. That is why the influx of refugees coming to Europe must be limited, according to the German minister.

The minister for finance also said that the migration influx is a common European challenge which cannot be solved on the national level. “Above all we must resolve the problem with Turkey. That is decisive,” Schaeuble said.

The German minister is not the only German politician from the ruling coalition who has spoken of the need to limit the migrant flows in Europe.

“I believe that we must honestly speak about the limit, to stop the influx, because we are at the end of [our] tether,” said Andreas Scheuer, Secretary-General of the Christian Social Union (CSU) which is the coalition partner of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

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Meanwhile CSU politician Stephan Mayer told newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS) that if “as many asylum seekers continue to come to Germany as in recent weeks, we won’t have any choice but to temporarily stop taking people in and to close the borders to them.”

However, Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that building fences and closing borders is “pointless,” as migrants would always find another way into Europe, and called for a head-on solution to the crisis including dealing with the reasons people are fleeing their countries.