German population in 2014 in biggest rise since 1992
Destatis, the German federal statistics office, on Thursday reported that the population of Germany rose by 430,000 people in 2014 on a year earlier (+0.5%) to stand at 81.2m inhabitants — the highest population increase since 1992, when the rise had been markedly higher in absolute terms (700,000 people). In 2013 there had been an increase of 244,000 people (+0.3%). The population in 1992 was at 80.3m.
A total of 7.5m foreign citizens were living in Europe's most populous country in 2014. Foreigners accounted for up 9.3% of the population at the end of 2014, up from 8.7% a year earlier.
Also Thursday, Angela Merkel, German chancellor, announced that Berlin will give its regional states extra funding to deal with an influx of migrants. The government says it plans to pay €670 per new arrival, per month.
Deutsche Welle, the German broadcaster, reports that according to the deal with the 16 states, refugee numbers are to be shared according to quotas — dependent on each state's tax income. Also included in the package were provisions to speed up the processing of asylum claims and the addition of Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo to a list of countries deemed to be safe. The intention would be to allow more capacity for refugees from conflict zones such as Syria.
Germany expects to receive more than 1m asylum applications this year.
Wolfgang Schäuble, German finance minister, said he still aimed to maintain a balanced budget next year, despite the added costs.
"We have a clear commitment to get by without taking on new debt and tax increases," he told ARD German television.
DW says Merkel has been criticized by the leaders of other EU states for waiving asylum rules, declaring that Germany would accept applications even if migrants had traveled through other EU countries. The move was seen as an open invitation, with eastern European leaders reticent to accept quotas set by Brussels.
Earlier this month, Germany temporarily reintroduced passport controls at its border with Austria, as Bavarian authorities struggled to deal with the influx arriving through the Balkans.
In a communiqué issued Wednesday night, after an emergency summit of EU leaders on the crisis, it said that the EU would provide “at least” an extra €1bn into funding for the UN’s refugee and food programmes in the region, and committed to turn their focus on to strengthening the EU’s borders.
Angela Merkel said: “The more money we inject into fighting the root causes of flight, the fewer people will be forced to leave their homes.”
On Thursday morning she added that the plan to redistribute migrants was not a one-off and must be followed by “permanent procedures.”
“We have now seen a first step but we are still far from the end that we have to reach,” Merkel told the German Bundestag.
At the meeting, leaders also discussed a plan to introduce a European border force. However, Donald Tusk, the European council president, conceded that there were some concerns this would lead to a transfer of sovereignty to Brussels from national capitals.
“If Europe adopts the right policies and in the context of its ageing society, the long-term benefits are likely to be substantial,” said Stefano Scarpetta, head of employment, labour and social affairs at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development according to the Financial Times.
The FT added that Mette Foged at the University of Copenhagen and Giovanni Peri at the University of California examined the impact refugees had on the Danish labour market between 1991 and 2008. They found that asylum seekers encouraged low-skilled locals to move into better jobs, earning higher wages.
Pic above from Frontex, the EU borders' agency, showing a Greek Coast Guard vessel during an operation in the Poseidon Sea in Apr 2015.