Syrian refugees nearly 40 per cent of arrivals in Germany in 2015

Nearly 40 per cent of refugees who entered Germany in 2015 were Syrians fleeing civil war in their country, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Wednesday.

The first official statistics on the origins of the 1.1 million refugees that German officials recorded last year showed that the influx included 428,500 Syrians (39 per cent), 154,000 Afghans (14 per cent) and 122,000 Iraqis (11 per cent).

The fourth and fifth largest groups hailed from Albania and Kosovo.

"This huge influx has confronted us with challenges unlike anything we have experienced since immediately after World War II," said de Maiziere, adding that the government was doing its best to significantly reduce the number of new arrivals.

The figures confirm that the majority of new arrivals are fleeing war and conflict in the Middle East. There has been a debate in Germany about getting tough on migrants who are leaving their homes for economic reasons.

The Interior Ministry's statistics also showed that less than half of those registered in 2015 have successfully filed asylum claims due to the intense burden on Germany's public administration.

Some 476,649 asylum claims were registered over the course of the year, more than double the equivalent number in 2014. There is currently a backlog of 365,000.

Last update: Wed, 06/01/2016 - 13:15

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