Germany expects families to follow migrants

2015-10-06 21:38
Lutz Bachmann speaks during a Pegida demonstration in Dresden. (AP)

Lutz Bachmann speaks during a Pegida demonstration in Dresden. (AP)

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Berlin - The German government will not make any new forecasts on the number of refugees who will enter the nation this year, said Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Tuesday, amid speculation that numbers have surged in the last four weeks.

Every new forecast would be "taken by traffickers as an invitation and I would not like to contribute to that", de Maiziere said in Berlin.

He was speaking following a Monday report in the daily tabloid Bild citing internal confidential figures that showed the numbers of asylum seekers arriving in Germany will hit 1.5 million this year - almost double the government's current official forecasts of 800 000.

But officials in Berlin have said they are not aware of the projections published in Bild, adding that the approach of winter is likely to stem the influx of asylum seekers.

Still, German Family Minister Manuela Schwesig said on Tuesday she expects large numbers of family members to join the hundreds of thousands of mostly male migrants who have arrived in Germany this year.

"We are expecting very many women and children to follow," Schwesig told the newspapers of publishers Funke Mediengruppe.

She argued that women and children should take precedence when it came to protection, accommodation and integration and that it was "a must that the topic of equality between women and men be a focus of integration courses".

A large number of the asylum seekers are thought to be single young men fleeing conflict in Syria and Afghanistan and who have left family back in their home nations.

The GEW teaching union said Tuesday it expected 300 000 more children in German schools in the next 12 months because of the migrant arrivals, for which an extra 25 000 teachers would be needed.

Citing a group of 40 experts, Bild also reported on Tuesday that, based on 1.5 million migrants, the country would need between 350 000 and 400 000 new homes, 1 000 schools, 20 000 civil servants, 15 000 police officers, 50 000 social workers, 6 000 doctors, 10 000 hospital beds and 68 000 extra child care places for children under 6 in order to cope with the influx.

Concerns about rising migration levels seem to have given fresh momentum to the weekly marches by the anti-foreigner Pegida movement in the eastern city of Dresden. Whereas last week's evening march attracted only 7 500, Monday's demonstration saw 9 000 take to the streets.

At its height last year, Pegida, a German acronym for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, drew more than 25 000 people to its weekly events, but infighting and a series of scandals saw support drop off.

Pegida founder Lutz Bachmann faces charges of incitement after describing foreigners as "animals", "trash" and "filth" in a series of Facebook posts in the autumn of 2014.

Police said on Tuesday that this week's march passed without any disturbances.

Read more on:    germany  |  migrants

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