BERLIN (UPI) — Germany expects to receive as many as 300,000 migrants in 2016 in addition to the 1 million who arrived last year from the Middle East and Africa.
While the latest influx is expected to stress the country’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, its director said he feels confident the numbers won’t rise above the estimate, BBC reported.
Frank-Juergen Weise said more than 390,000 people have applied for asylum in the first six months of 2016.
Weise’s pronouncent came hours after German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party had underestimated the challenge Germany faces as more migrate to that country, Sunday Express reported.
Gabriel, a leader of the Social Democrats, a coalition partner to Merkel’s government, made his comments just as Germany prepares for a federal election next year.
“I, we always said that it’s inconceivable for Germany to take in a million people every year,” Gabriel said. He is critical of Merkel’s oft-used phrase “We Can Do It,” which she adopted after last summer’s refugee influx.
There is growing concern about how to integrate that many new people in to German society and in to the labor force.
Weise said he is aware that integration will take a long time and cost a lot of money.
Germany remains on high alert after a series of attacks in July that left four passengers injured when a teen attacked them with an ax on a train. The 17-year-old with the ax was killed by police.
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