Friday, December 09, 2016

NIGHTMARE FOR MERKEL: More than HALF of Germans see refugees as country’s biggest problem

MORE than half of Germans see refugees and integration as Germany's biggest problem, a survey released today revealed.The shock findings come despite the number of newcomers into the country falling significantly on the year after the open-door approach of 2016. A record 890,000 mainly Muslim migrants from the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere arrived in Europe's largest economy in 2015, prompting concerns about security and integration. Arrivals have slowed this year, with the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) saying on Friday around 305,000 new asylum seekers were registered during the first 11 months of 2016.The BAMF received 26,438 asylum applications in November - a fall of around 54 per cent on the year. However, a survey by pollster Forschungsgruppe Wahlen for broadcaster ZDF found 58 per cent of Germans see refugees and integration as the most important problems Germany is facing. Chancellor Angela Merkel's popularity has waned since migrants started arriving in large numbers last summer and she expects next year's federal election, in which she plans to run for a fourth term, to be "tough like no other".Mrs Merkel, whose conservatives have lost support to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, hardened her stance on migrants' integration in Germany at a congress this week and her Christian Democrats (CDU) passed a resolution on cracking down on dual citizenship. Fifty per cent of Germans think she is doing a good job on refugee policy while 45 per cent think her work in this area is "rather bad", the survey of 1,234 people conducted in December. Almost two-thirds (60 per cent) worry that spending on refugees means money is being saved elsewhere and 52 per cent fear that migration will push up crime rates. Just under a third (30 per cent) fear that Germany's cultural and social values are under threat due to the refugees. Newspaper Die Welt said on its website that migrants from North Africa were seldom deported from Germany. It cited an answer from the government to a question from the opposition far-left Linke party as saying that a combined total of 281 Moroccans, Tunisians and Algerians had been deported from Germany in the first three quarters of 2016 after more than 13,000 North Africans arrived here last year. Around three-quarters (14,463) of all migrants deported (19,914) from Germany in the first three quarters were from the West Balkans, it said.

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