Germany has taken four times as many refugees this year as in 2014, and a state president has lashed out at the new head of the Federal Migration Office for working too slowly.
Some 964,574 refugees have come to Germany this year according to government figures cited by the Passauer Neue Presse, up from 238,676 in 2014. Half a million of those have actually made asylum applications. In the same period, the number of unprocessed asylum cases held by the migration office had increased from 169,166 to 355,914.
Senior figures in the national federal government, including Angela Merkel’s chief of staff Peter Altmaier, have been forced to defend the track record of the body responsible for immigration, and its new director from pointed criticism.
Social Democrat Party Minister-President of the Rhineland-Palatinate state Malu Dreyer has criticised new agency chief Frank-Jürgen Weise and his staff for not working seven day weeks in the light of the migrant crisis. Although the left-wing politician is no critic of mass migration, the delays in processing may restrict the access of migrants to state benefit, which may explain her concern.
Defending the record of the office and their new chief, government spin doctor Mr. Altmaier said without the hard work and efficiency of the body the backlog would be significantly larger, and with just a few weeks under his belt Mr. Weise hadn’t yet had chance to make much of a difference. Regardless, the head had made “an incredible amount of progress in that time”, he said.
In a now rare moment of unity with the national government and his party colleagues, Christian Social Union leader, Bavarian president, and critic of mass migration Horst Seehofer also moved to defend the body. He referred back to his earlier comments remarking that the Federal Migration Office was poorly equipped to deal with the coming migration crisis— leaving a barb in his remarks by pointing out funding and provision for the body was down to the federal government.
The personal stock of Mr. Seehofer has been rising this year at the expense of his boss and colleague Chancellor Merkel. The Chancellor’s own approval ratings have hit an all-time low on the back of the migrant crisis, which many see Mrs. Merkel as having played a significant part in causing.