The migrant crisis that has engulfed Germany will cost the country €50 billion within two years, report claims.
Angela Merkel reportedly blocked further reform on immigration.
By Our Foreign Staff, Telegraph
2:04AM GMT 02 Feb 2016
Asylum seekers will cost Germany an estimated €50 billion by the end of 2017, a new report has found.
The Cologne Institute for Economic Research has found that shelter, welfare and integration will cost Germany €22 billion this year and €27.6 billion next year.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is under increasing pressure to reduce the numbers of migrants reaching Germany and voters are increasingly doubtful that the state can tackle the refugee crisis, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned on Monday.
Police arrest men around the main train station in Cologne.
The comments by Schaeuble, a senior member in Merkel’s cabinet and respected veteran in her centre-right bloc, show growing concern among ruling politicians only six weeks before regional elections in three federal states.
More than one million migrants streamed into Germany last year, and some regions have complained that they are being overwhelmed. Concerns about crime have also mounted after men of north African and Arab appearance assaulted women in Cologne.
Right-wing demonstrators arrive in the square outside the main station in Cologne, Germany.
Speaking at a panel in the western city of Duesseldorf, Schaeuble said it was “evident” that the pressure on Merkel in the refugee crisis was bigger now than it was eight months ago.
“There are growing doubts in parts of the population that state institutions are able to master this,” he warned, adding this scepticism was likely to shake up the political landscape and new parties were set to enter more regional parliaments.
“I expect a stronger diversification (of the party spectrum),” Schaeuble said regarding the elections in the western states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate as well as in Saxony-Anhalt in the east on March 13.
Police officers survey the area in front of the main train station and the Cathedral in Cologne.
Merkel has promised to “measurably reduce” arrivals this year, but has refused to introduce a cap, saying it would be impossible to enforce without closing German borders.
Instead, she has tried to convince European partners to take on quotas of refugees, pushed for reception centres to be built on Europe’s external borders, and led an EU campaign to convince Turkey to keep refugees from entering the bloc.
But progress has been slow and EU officials have warned time is running out to agree on and also implement a joint approach before Europe’s Schengen system of borderless travel – and with it a corner piece of European integration – collapses.
European refugee crisis
Refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe via illegal routes
Proportion of migrants who are from Syria
Syrian refugees being housed in Lebanon – a country 100 times smaller than Europe
One in five
Proportion of people in Lebanon who are refugees
1 in 122
According to the head of the UN refugee agency, one in 122 people is a refugee
Proportion of migrants who land in Italy and Greece, then get as far as Calais
Illegal migrants were stopped from entering Britain by UK Border Force officials in 2015
15 per cent
Proportion of female refugees from Syria who are pregnant in Turkey