Germany: Number of refugees arriving has significantly fallen
During the first six months of 2016 more than 220 000 migrants arrived in Germany. The figure was announced on 8 July by German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière.
Compared to last year, that is a significant decline. More than 200 000 migrants arrived in Germany during the month of November alone last year.
Asylum is being sought in Germany this year most frequently by citizens of Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. From the beginning of January until the end of June, German authorities recorded a toal of 222 264 newly arriving migrants.
By far the greatest number (75 000) have come to seek refuge in Germany from Syria. Other numerous groups of arriving migrants are citizens of Afghanistan (39 000) and Iraq (38 000).
Citizens of Iran (9 200) and of the Russian Federation (5 400) have also arrived in Germany to seek asylum this year. In the final quarter of 2015 alone, 514 000 migrants came to Germany, and their number exceeded one million for all of last year.
The German Interior Minister said the reason numbers of new arrivals have declined is primarily the closure of the so-called Balkan route along which hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa arrived in Europe last year. At the beginning of 2016, Austria closed that route after reaching agreement with the Western Balkan states.
Another reason the number of arrivals has reduced is the agreement concluded between the European Union and Turkey at the end of March, according to the German Interior Minister. "We see that measures are working at both the EU level and that of Germany," de Maizière said.
"The refugee crisis is not resolved yet, but its resolution is proceeding successfully in Europe and in Germany," the German Interior Minister said. He did not want to give an estimate of the number of migrants expected to arrive during the rest of 2016, saying he believes the situation remains too unstable for predictions.
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