As the refugee crisis unfolds, Germany prepares for vast social challenges of accepting so many newcomers.
About a third of refugees arriving in Germany who claim to be from Syria are actually not from that country, a spokesman for the German interior ministry has said.
“Thirty percent of those asylum-seekers who claim to be Syrian are not Syrians according to this estimate,” Tobias Plate said at a government news conference on Friday, adding that there were, however, no precise statistics yet available.
On Thursday, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s 16 state governors agreed on measures designed to streamline the country’s handling of the refugee arrivals.
New measures included declaring three Balkan countries “safe” states of origin and cutting some cash payments to newcomers.
Merkel said that Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro will be declared safe countries as part of efforts to reduce the stream of people from those countries who have arrived.
The agreement calls for “pocket money” paid to people at initial reception centres to be switched to benefits in kind.
The federal government is pledging to shoulder many of the financial risks of the influx, relieving state and municipal authorities.
The UN agency for refugees also welcomed the announcement that critically needed new funding would be made available for refugees in first countries of asylum.
“The relocation plan will not put an end to the problem, but it hopefully will be the beginning of a solution,” said Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
“It is an important step toward stabilising the crisis, but much more needs to be done. The plan can only work if, at entry points in Europe, robust facilities are created to receive, assist, register and screen people.