Germany can cope with 500,000 migrants a year; Greece asks for EU funding

By Andrew V. Pestano and Ed Adamczyk
Syrian migrant looks out a window of a commercial train heading towards Vienna in the Keleti train station in Budapest, Hungary on September 6, 2015. Photo by Achilleas Zavallis/UPI
1 of 4 | Syrian migrant looks out a window of a commercial train heading towards Vienna in the Keleti train station in Budapest, Hungary on September 6, 2015. Photo by Achilleas Zavallis/UPI | License Photo

BERLIN, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Germany will be able to receive at least 500,000 asylum-seekers each year for several years, the country's vice chancellor said, as cash-strapped Greece is appealing for funding to handle the migrant crisis.

In 2015, Germany will expect more than 800,000 asylum-seekers -- four times the amount last year -- and, according to Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, the country will be able to cope with at least 500,000 a year for several years.


Gabriel also urged other European countries to receive their fair share of migrants, BBC News reported. The European Union rule on refugees, known as the Dublin Regulation, says asylum seekers must register in the first EU member country in which they arrived. Germany recently said it would suspend the rule for Syrian migrants who travel to the country, allowing migrants to bypass registration in other countries and be received as refugees in Germany.


Meanwhile, Greece on Monday asked the European Commission for $2.79 million in immediate emergency funding to assist with the migrant crisis.

Greek authorities also reportedly appealed for another $10.68 million to improve the country's infrastructure, considered inadequate for the accommodation and identification of the thousands of refugees seeking asylum and the thousands of migrants waiting to be registered before they travel elsewhere.

In the Greek island of Lesvos there were up to 20,000 migrants waiting for the documentation they need to continue with their journeys. Greek Caretaker Minister for Migration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas said the island is "on the verge of an explosion" as tensions run high due to Afghan migrants accusing Syrian migrants of receiving preferential treatment by authorities.

Britain announced Monday it will accept up to 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020 on the same day Germany said it plans to spend $6.7 billion to deal with an influx of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejected proposals from opposition politicians to accept refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries.

"Israel is not indifferent to the human tragedy of the refugees from Syria and Africa, but Israel is a small country, a very small country, that lacks demographic and geographic depth; therefore, we must control our borders against illegal migrants and terrorism," he said at a cabinet meeting Sunday.


As Europe endures its worst refugee crisis since World War II, and those displaced by the Syrian civil war have been taken in by the hundreds of thousands by Lebanon and Jordan, Israel, which shares a border with Syria, has remained isolated and not a target for refugees. Syria and Israel are technically in a state of war, and about four million Syrians have been displaced..

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog of Israel's Labor Party suggested Saturday that "Jews cannot remain indifferent when hundreds of thousands of refugees are seeking safe harbor. Our people experienced firsthand the silence of the world" -- a Holocaust reference -- "and cannot be indifferent in the face of the rampant murders and massacres taking place in Syria."

Netanyahu said Sunday multilateral aid packages, to help African countries, are under discussion with European countries. He added in a text message that work has begun on a fence between eastern Israel and Jordan, a $71 million project.

Mahoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian National Authority, has asked Netanyahu to allow Syrian refugees to relocate in the West Bank, adding the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations intends to bring the issue to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.


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