German asylum applications drop by two-thirds

Posted: 10/4/17
Around 60,000 people applied for asylum in Germany between January and March this year, about two-thirds down on the same period a year earlier, Reuters reported Monday.
In the same period, the German office for migration and refugees ruled on 222,395 asylum applications, of which a fifth were granted full refugee status, and half were allowed to stay in Germany temporarily. A report by the migration office stated that 278,000 applications have yet to be processed.
The report indicated that the EU-Turkey migration deal signed last year was responsible for the sharp fall in migrants arriving in the EU. According to the deal, Turkey takes back migrants who arrived in the EU illegally, and also prevents those in Turkey from going to the EU, in exchange for €6 billion in aid and other concessions.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was criticized for her open-door policy on migrants predominantly coming from Syria and Iraq. Around 1 million migrants have arrived in Germany since 2015.
According to polls, most Germans still welcome refugees, but many believe a limit has been reached. Germany will hold national elections in September this year.