Germany says it can take in 500,000 Syrian refugees every year - as David Cameron insists on accepting no more than 20,000 in 5 years

German vice-chancellor says Germany can cope with more than half a million newcomers from Syria for 'several years'

Matt Dathan
Tuesday 08 September 2015 12:15
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Syrian women at a refugee camp in the Lebanese town of Ketermaya.
Syrian women at a refugee camp in the Lebanese town of Ketermaya.

Germany can take in at half a million Syrian refugees every year, the country's vice chancellor has said, piling pressure on the UK to accept more than the 4,000 a year promised by David Cameron yesterday.

Sigmar Gabriel, the German vice chancellor, said European nations must take their fair share as he said he had "no doubt" that Germany could cope with an annual intake of more than 500,000 over the next few years.

German officials say they expect more than 800,000 asylum seekers will be accepted into the country by the end of 2015, having already taken in 35,000 in the first six months of the year.

Around 15,000 refugees were welcomed by Germany last weekend alone.

However other European countries, including the UK, have refused to be as generous in taking in those fleeing the four-year civil war in Syria, preferring to concentrate resources into helping refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan instead.

Mr Cameron announced a change of Government policy on the issue yesterday, saying the UK would welcome up to 20,000 before 2015.

Speaking to ZDF public television, Mr Gabriel, who is Germany's vice-chancellor and leader of the centre-left Social Democrats party, said: 'I believe we could surely deal with something in the order of half a million for several years. I have no doubt about that, maybe more."

"We can't just take almost one million people every year and seamlessly integrate them' into German society," he said.

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