The Strategist

Germany accumulates refugees while Italy says them goodbye

11/02/2017 - 14:42

By the end of 2016, the number of people seeking asylum in Germany has nearly doubled compared to the end of 2014, reaching 1.6 million people. German media criticize the German authorities for the fact that they lost 30 thousand refugees who were to be deported from the country. The Italian authorities, in turn, reported a 70% decrease in the number of refugees arriving in the country from Libya, which was explained by the success in the negotiations.

Rebecca Harms
Rebecca Harms
As follows from the data published on Thursday by the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, the number of foreigners seeking asylum in Germany reached 1.6 million at the end of 2016. This is almost twice as much as at the end of 2014 - then the number of such persons was 850 thousand people. Thus, those who applied to the authorities of Germany for asylum, accounted for 16% of all foreigners living in the country. The statistics includes those who have already received asylum in the country and those who have submitted such applications, as well as those whose applications have been rejected.

In some regions of Germany, the number of such refugees has grown even more. So, in Berlin their number increased two and a half times. Almost a third of all foreigners are from Syrian citizens (455,000), followed by Afghanistan (191,000) and Iraq (156,000).

German media criticize the country's authorities for not being able to sufficiently control the situation. According to some reports, 30,000 refugees who could not receive asylum in Germany (and therefore had to be deported from the country) have disappeared from the German authorities' eyes. As Bild newspaper reported with a reference to an official of the German Ministry of the Interior, they could "already leave the country or hide."

The Italian Ministry of the Interior, in turn, reported a sharp decrease in the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Libya. In the period since July 31, 28 thousand people took this route, which is 70% less compared to the same period last year. In general, since the beginning of 2017 there were 110 thousand people in Italy, which is one third lower than in 2016.

The Italian authorities believe that reduction in the number of refugees resulted in their diplomatic success in negotiations with the authorities of Libya, as well as sending Italian search and rescue teams to the coast of this country, helping the Libyan coast guard to intercept the boats with migrants. Critics accuse the Italian authorities of paying the money to the Libyan field commanders controlling the shipping business across the Mediterranean to prevent them from entering Italy.

At the same time, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Morocco to Spain has increased. There were about 5,5 thousand people in the last year, but already in 2017 the figure has increased two and a half times, up to 14 thousand. The number of those who move to Italy from Tunisia has also grown - their number was 1, 4 thousand people only in September.