Germany will accommodate as many immigrants as make their way to the country, so says the head of the country’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees Manfred Schmidt.
Speaking to the German newspaper Der Spiegel, Schmidt acknowledged that the numbers of people coming into Germany has quadrupled in the last year, with 800,000 asylum applications expected in 2015.
“Probably these figures are still rising,” he said, in a stark admission that there is no end in sight to the hundreds of thousands making their way into Europe.
While many of the would-be immigrants come from Syria, Schmidt also acknowledged the case for refugee and asylum status being based on economic hardship – one of the greatest concerns of the proponents of controlled immigration to Europe.
If Europe opens the doors to those who are defined as living in poverty, this would mean billions of people would have valid asylum claims for European nations.
“There have come more and more refugees from sub-Saharan Africa in recent years, many of them from economic hardship. The population of Africa is almost quadruple estimated to the year 2100. Do we have to talk about the African refugees more?” he was asked.
“You have to be clearly distinguished here,” he replied. “On the one hand, there are asylum seekers from countries like Eritrea or Somalia, fleeing for political reasons. Or Nigerians that the Islamist Boko Haram militia escape. On the other hand but also a lot of people from other West African countries to leave their homes because they want a second chance. They see no economical perspective on life in their country and seeking to reach Europe or Germany to work and support their families in Africa.”
“But,” he added, “of course it is not realistic and does not make sense that the entire workforce of West Africa comes under in Germany, so we have to continue to invest to build themselves good structures in the countries.”
The crucial answer however, came when he was asked how many refugees Germany can continue to absorb:
“It can be used for the inclusion of people who are fleeing persecution and need protection, giving no limit upwards,” he said. Echoing the statements made this weekend by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.