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Germany to Accept 10,200 North Africa, Middle East Refugees in 2019

Slovenia Refugees

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Germany is to take in a further 10,200 refugees this year and 2019 as part of a EU programme, German Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, said in Berlin on Thursday.

Seehofer spoke after meeting EU Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos.

This year, around 4,600 refugees will be allowed to enter Germany, with 5,600 following in 2019, Seehofer said.

Avramopoulos had earlier told the newspapers of Germany’s Funke Media Group that the German government agreed to a plan to take in refugees from North Africa and the Middle East, putting the number at 10,000.

As other EU member states had agreed to take in 40,000 refugees, the resettlement programme’s targets had been achieved and would probably be exceeded, Avramopoulos said ahead of a meeting with Seehofer.

“The German government is once again at the fore in matters of international solidarity,” Avramopoulos said.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees expressed satisfaction.

“Resettlement is an important instrument in the international protection of refugees,” said its German representative, Dominik Bartsch.

The Pro Asyl aid organisation immediately expressed criticism.

“Germany and the EU are gloating about the wrong point,” spokesman Guenter Burkhardt said. “At the same time, thousands of refugees are being sent back to torture centres in Libya.”

He called for an end to cooperation with the Libyan coastguard.

The programme announced last summer is intended to provide a direct and secure route to Europe for those most in need of asylum.

By autumn 2019, at least 50,000 people, mostly from North Africa, should find a new home in the EU.

The EU has funded the programme with 500 million euros (617 million dollars).

Avramopoulos has urged Germany to remove border controls introduced during the refugee crisis that saw 890,000 people seek asylum in the country in 2015.

Europe’s border-free Schengen zone allows for the reintroduction of controls during periods of crisis, but Avramopoulos said he could not allow this to continue indefinitely.

“We must return speedily to the normal functioning of the Schengen system,” Avramopoulos said.

Germany has announced that it plans to extend controls on its border with Austria beyond a May deadline. (dpa/NAN)



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