Faeser calls for a summit on refugees: thousands of Syrians return via the Balkans

Faeser calls for refugee summit
Thousands of Syrians return via the Balkans

The number of asylum seekers in Germany is skyrocketing. It is mainly refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq who cross the border in large numbers every day – in addition to Ukrainians. Interior Minister Faeser convenes a summit on refugees in Berlin.

Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser invites representatives of cities, municipalities and districts to a refugee summit in Berlin on October 11. “Taking care of a million refugees is a huge achievement, especially for the municipalities,” said the SPD politician. “On October 11, we will be discussing intensively how we can continue to provide support, especially during the winter months.”

The meeting with the municipal umbrella organizations of the Ministry of the Interior should focus on a better distribution of Ukrainian refugees in Germany. Municipalities warn that in many places capacity limits have been reached, they are asking for more help from the federal government. Nearly one million people from Ukraine have been registered since the start of the Russian war of aggression at the end of February. You do not need an asylum application.

The number of asylum seekers is increasing by leaps and bounds

In addition, the number of asylum seekers from other countries is again increasing significantly. According to the Federal Office for Migration, around 115,000 new applications were submitted at the end of August. This is a 35% increase over the previous year. Most people came from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. More and more people are returning via the Mediterranean and the Balkan route.

According to their own statements, Berlin and Saxony are also seeing a significant increase in the number of arrivals. Registration capacities in both Länder are almost exhausted. In Berlin, in August 2022, as many people were admitted to first reception centers as in the whole of 2021, according to the Senate for Labour, Migration and the Interior. Unlike Ukrainians, asylum seekers from third countries cannot be accommodated privately. As a possible solution, they are considering renting hostels. In addition, the existing dwellings were compacted.

Bavaria and Saxony sound the alarm

Saxony’s interior minister, Armin Schuster, spoke of soaring numbers last week. In September, the authorities recorded 100 illegal entries every day. The SPD politician warned: ‘We are heading towards a situation like the one we had in 2016/17’. In July, around 260 people per week on average applied for asylum in Saxony, in August this number rose to around 470, while in the first two weeks of September it was 862, according to preliminary data from the State Directorate of Saxony.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann also sounded the alarm. According to a report by the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”, the number of refugees arriving mainly in southern and eastern Bavaria by road and increasingly by rail has more than quintupled compared to the previous year. During the months of May, June and July, an average of 5,600 people came to Bavaria each month. It also has something to do with the war in Ukraine, but also with refugee movements from Syria and Afghanistan, the CSU politician said.

‘Sudden increase’: Faeser announces talks with Serbia

Federal Interior Minister Faeser announced the first measures against the influx on Wednesday. Manhunts towards the Czech Republic have been reinforced with the federal police and border controls towards Austria have been extended. In addition, together with Austria and the Czech Republic, they requested support from the European Union (EU). Most people come from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, Faeser said. However, there is a very strong shift in Austria as far as countries of origin are concerned. Indeed, especially in Serbia, some citizens – for example from India and Bangladesh – are allowed to enter without a visa. Within the federal police, the issue of smugglers is a top priority, said the president of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), Holger Münch, during the meeting with the minister.

Apparently, many migrants entered the Serbian capital, Belgrade, also via the airport and then traveled to Germany, Faeser told Welt TV channel. The SPD politician announced talks with Serbia on “why migration has suddenly increased”.

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