Germany Expects A Million Migrants This Year


Germany is expecting one million migrants this year – 200,000 more than previously estimated, Angela Merkel’s deputy has said.

In a letter to party members, the country’s vice chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, said: “Everything points to the fact that we won’t have 800,000 migrants as has been predicted by the Interior Ministry, but one million.”

He also called for other EU nations to take their fair share of refugees, and warned a “common European effort” to tackle the crisis is badly needed.

Later today, the European Commission will formally outline its plans to distribute 160,000 refugees across 22 EU member states over the next two years – a policy several countries are opposed to.

The UK is not involved in the quota scheme and instead is planning to accept vulnerable and displaced people from refugee camps in nations bordering Syria.

Earlier today, David Cameron visited one such refugee camp in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley to see the impact of the humanitarian crisis “at source” days after vowing to take in 20,000 refugees over the next five years.

At meeting in Brussels, Home Secretary Theresa May called for other European nations to follow the same approach as it would “break the business models” of “cruel” people smugglers.

Poland is one country which has spoken out against the planned quota scheme, with its Prime Minister, Ewa Kopacz, insisting “we will accept only as many refugees as we can afford, not a single one more or less”.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said EU countries will be able to contribute money to handling the migration crisis in exchange for escaping their quota.

Over the weekend, Germany tightened controls along its border with Austria creating traffic jams at major crossings.

A German government spokesman has stressed the “temporary border controls are not a closure of the border” but are designed to ensure refugees arrive “in a more orderly process”.

In addition, Mr Gabriel said the policy should be seen as a “clear signal to European partners that Germany, even if we are prepared to provide disproportionate assistance, cannot accommodate all the refugees alone”.

The announcement took Germany’s neighbours by surprise and several other nations are tightening security on their own frontiers in response.

Austria’s Chancellor has confirmed his country’s military has been deployed to help police dealing with the influx of migrants along its borders but the focus of their support is to provide “humanitarian help”.

Migrants are crossing over from Hungary into Austria at their fastest rate yet – and according to an Austrian police spokesman on Monday afternoon, as many as 9,000 people have already arrived since midnight, after 14,000 on Sunday.

The spokesman also explained how Austria’s main accommodation centres for the migrants – in Nickelsdorf and Parndorf – are full.

Slovakia is also closing off its borders with Austria and Hungary.

Meanwhile, Hungary has added hundreds of new policemen to its border with Serbia and refugees who cross the frontier illegally and try to avoid officials could face imprisonment from tomorrow.

However, to process migrants more quickly, two new reception centres have been opened in the western towns of Szentgotthard and Kormend.

France is demanding tighter controls at the borders of all European countries but especially in Greece, Italy and Hungary.

Those three countries are on the periphery of the EU, and have disproportionately had to deal with hundreds of thousands of people arriving from the Middle East by land and sea.

The French government wants greater manpower across the region to help sort refugees fleeing war-torn countries from economic migrants.