Germany Marks Drop in Migrant Arrivals

Germany Marks Drop in Migrant ArrivalsGermany Marks Drop in Migrant Arrivals

The number of refugees entering Germany has plummeted since January, according to German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

Pro-migrant activists decried the drop as a sign of a “refugee protection crisis”. Some 222,000 asylum-seekers have arrived in Germany since the start of the year, German Interior Minister de Maiziere said on Friday.

The latest numbers for 2016 show a sharp drop compared to the same period of last year, when Germany faced a record-breaking refugee crisis, Deutsche Welle reported.

Syrians constituted the largest group of asylum applicants in the first half of the year, at 171,488. Afghans with 60,611 requests and Iraqis at 56,540 accounted for second and third place respectively, according to government statistics.

Over 1.1 million people arrived in the country during 2015. The influx plummeted after January 2016, however, falling from some 91,700 newcomers to 16,300 in June.

De Maiziere said the drop was due to Balkan countries closing their borders and the EU’s agreement with Turkey for Ankara to keep migrants from embarking on the dangerous trip to Europe.

“We see from this that the measures taken at a German and European level are taking effect,” he told reporters. “Although the refugee crisis has not been solved, its solution is making good progress in Europe and very good progress in Germany.”

Refugees were still crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy at roughly last year’s level, de Maiziere added.

However, Rome was “behaving correctly” by registering refugees instead of waving them through to other countries.

Despite these developments, de Maiziere refused to make predictions for the rest of the year, saying that the situation was too “unstable”.

The EU-Turkey deal “is working so far, but I wouldn’t guarantee that this will also remain the case in the coming months,” he said. “And developments on the Balkan route could worsen significantly.”