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Group of Afghan men. Photo: Pixabay

German migration researcher expects immigrant share of 40 percent

According to the Berlin migration researcher Herbert Brücker, the proportion of citizens with foreign roots in Germany will rise to over 40 by the year 2040.

Published: November 5, 2019, 8:18 am

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    “Germany will be more colorful. Currently, about a quarter of people in Germany have a migrant background. In 20 years, it will be at least 35 percent, but could also be over 40 percent,” he told German daily Die Welt.

    Frankfurt am Main is a good example of this development, he pointed out. “Every second person there has a migrant background. In Berlin it is about 35 percent. What we see in the big cities today will be normal for the country as a whole.”

    But Brücker warned against drawing a wrong picture from the development, saying that there will not be a minority of Germans against a majority of immigrants. The Germans would always be by far the largest group, since the migrants are in themselves a “colourful” group.

    With regard to labor migration, the Director of the Department of Economic Migration and Integration Research at Humboldt University pleaded for a common European solution. “We have a common internal market and a common labor market, so that is indeed going to be the issue.”

    Germany could meet its labor needs in the future by importing immigrants from the Western Balkans or Ukraine. “Because of the comparatively young population, the Middle East is also relevant.”

    Bosnia has meanwhile seen a buildup of Middle Eastern and Asian migrant numbers since nearby EU members Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia sealed their borders to undocumented migrants. As of 2018, around 35 percent of the migrants in the largest camp were Pakistanis, 20 percent were Afghans, and 20 percent claimed to be from Syria, though an official cast doubt on that figure.

    Gabor Stankovic from the European Migrant Smuggling Centre said that Balkan migration route was still a “hot potato” for the EU, adding that “migrations are not a problem of one country, but the entire EU”. Pressure is building in the media against the closing of borders.

    Over 20 000 migrants and asylum seekers have arrived in Bosnia since January 2019 but the state did not provide adequate shelter, food, and access to medical assistance to the new arrivals, according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

    The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been warning of a “fast-developing humanitarian emergency” in one migrant camp near the border with Croatia and “violent and unlawful” pushbacks from Croatia.

    The Vučjak tent camp has allegedly been overcrowded with 700 migrants living without running water, electricity, or medical care. On October 16, police transferred around 1 700 more people to the camp from Bihać, the largest town in the area.

    Human Right’s Watch and IOM have asked Bosnia and Herzegovina to immediately close the camp with “inhumane conditions”.

    But the Minister of Security for Bosnia and Herzegovina Dragan Mektic said at a press conference on Wednesday that despite neighboring countries’ good deal with the issue of migrant crisis, BiH is a consensus-based and coordination-based state.

    “In these neighboring countries there are centralized bodies dealing with this crisis, making decisions and respecting them at every level. I didn’t want to talk about some things so far, but I just want to point to the fact that as BiH is regulated, we are not really able to cope with any serious crisis,” Mektic said.

    Since August 2018, only 34 migrants have been rejected at the German-Austrian border and sent back to Greece. Two asylum seekers were also turned back to Spain within the past 14 months. This was revealed in a response from the Federal Government to a request from the Left Party, which was published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

    Last year, Germany negotiated agreements with Greece and Spain, allowing refugees who have already applied for asylum in one of the countries to be sent back without delay when stopped at the German border. According to the Dublin agreement, refugees should apply for asylum in the country they first entered on EU territory.

    The domestic spokeswoman for the Left Party, Ulla Jelpke, accused the German administration of breaking the law. The repatriations are not compatible with European law and “not allowed at all”. The Interior Ministry, on the other hand, sees the agreements as a “clear signal against the acceptance of uncontrolled illegal secondary movements”.

    From the end of September 2015 to the end of June 2019, the Federal Police stopped around 46 000 people on the German-Austrian border. During the same period about 35 000 people were refused entry.

    It is however not clear where most illegal border crossings take place, according to the federal government.

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