Felicity Capon, Newsweek, August 18, 2015
Germany is set to raise its official forecast for the number of people likely to seek asylum in the country this year to a staggering 750,000, more than twice as many as 2014, according to the German newspaper Handelsblatt.
Citing government sources, the daily business newspaper says Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere will present the new figure by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees on Wednesday.
The figure is a sharp rise from the federal office’s June estimate for 2015 of 450,000, which was already a record figure for the country.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said at the time that the government would double the sum of 500 million euros ($560 million) promised to states and communities struggling to cope with the influx, while also speeding up the process of deporting those not deemed eligible for asylum.
There were 203,000 asylum seekers in Germany in 2014, according to Eurostat, the highest number of asylum seekers to any European country from outside of of the European Union.
The U.N.’s High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, told the German newspaper Die Welt on Tuesday: “We have to spread the responsibility on more shoulders in Europe. In the long term, it is not sustainable for only two EU countries–Germany and Sweden–to take in the majority of refugees with efficient asylum structures.”
Guterres also criticised the use of dehumanising language used by European leaders and in the media when referring to refugees, telling the newspaper: “I am concerned when refugees are depicted as intruders, job seekers and terrorists to play on public fears. This is a fight for values.”