BERLIN, Germany – Germany took in more than 200,000 migrants in September, politicians said on Thursday, a new record which is likely to fuel the debate about how many newcomers Europe’s most populous country can absorb.
Germany’s mainstream parties initially backed Chancellor Angela Merkel’s warm welcome for refugees but the mood has turned more critical, with practical worries about how to feed and house so many people setting the tone.
“In September alone, we registered more refugees than for the whole of last year,” Stephan Mayer, a lawmaker from the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) party, told parliament, putting the figure at over 200,000.
His CSU colleague Joachim Herrmann, the Bavarian interior minister, said up to 280,000 may have entered German territory last month.
The CSU is the sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), who rule in coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD).
Germany expects as many as 800,000 migrants to come to the country this year alone — around 1 percent of the current population — and Bavaria in the south of the country is where many of them are crossing the border.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told parliament on Thursday that there was a limit to how many migrants Europe can accept, but he did not set a figure on it.
Germany was “trying damned hard” to distribute the migrants around the country and find them accommodation, he said.