Exclusive Interior Ministry: Germany Welcomed 1.1 Million Refugees in 2015

Germany’s interior minister, Thomas de Maziere, confirmed Wednesday that Germany recorded 1.1 million refugees entering its borders in 2015 and warned that Europe’s largest economy would not be able to sustain such high numbers in the coming years. The influx marks the highest since records began in 1950, and is more than four times the number recorded in 2014. Mr. de Maziere said the numbers were “too high” and would have to be reduced in 2016, but he stopped short of calling for a specific upper limit. “This enormous influx has presented us with challenges that we haven’t seen since immediate post-war era,” Mr. de Maziere said. Of the more than 1 million refugees who entered Germany last year, the interior ministry said a total of 476,649 formally requested asylum in Europe’s largest economy – twice as many as the year before. The remaining half a million either have not yet formally requested asylum or have moved on to other countries, the interior ministry said. The 1.1 million figure had already been made public late last year by a Bavarian state minister, but Mr. de Maziere on Wednesday presented the federal government’s official numbers. About one third of those who requested asylum came from Syria. Another 30 percent came from the West Balkan region, though the ministry said the number declined throughout the year. By December, only about 8 percent of those arriving came from the Balkans. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has so far maintained an open-door policy toward asylum seekers coming to Germany, refusing to bow to demands from some conservative politicians to set a specific limit on how many can enter the country. Picture source: Reuters