Germany records a third fewer asylum seekers in Feb than in Jan

8th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

Germany recorded 61,428 asylum seekers in February, down 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 each.

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.

Berlin has called for European solidarity and a quota system in which migrants in Turkey are distributed among the 28 EU countries in an orderly way that will stop desperate refugees from making the dangerous sea crossings between Turkey and the Greek islands.

© 2016 AFP

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