Germany expects refugee numbers to reach 800,000 this year

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 19, 2015 11:45 AM

BERLIN (Reuters) - The number of asylum-seekers and refugees to Germany will quadruple to a record 800,000 this year compared with last, twice as many as forecast in January, the government said on Wednesday.

Germany has become a magnet for refugees from Africa, Asia and the Middle East and has criticized European Union partners for not doing more.

"We've got to reckon there will be 800,000 people coming to Germany as refugees or seeking asylum," Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told a news conference in Berlin.

Migrant numbers across the EU have shot up in recent months. Many undertake dangerous sea voyages to reach southern Europe, then make their way across the continent in the hope of reaching wealthier nations like Germany.

The nation's previous biggest annual intake was 438,191 in 1992, when it received large numbers of refugees fleeing conflicts resulting from the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

A year later, the German parliament changed the constitution to impose stricter rules on asylum. Numbers sank to a low of 28,000 in 2008 before they started climbing again.

(Reporting by Erik Kirschbaum; editing by Andrew Roche)