10 million more refugees could flee to Germany if Ukraine falls – Welt
As many as 10 million more refugees could flood into Germany if Ukraine disintegrates, Welt am Sonntag has said, citing estimates from officials. Despite the worsening situation regarding the conflict with Russia, the German government still believes this worst-case scenario is not likely to materialize this year, the media outlet added.
Since the conflict between Kiev and Moscow flared up almost two years ago, 1.1 million Ukrainians have fled to the country, according to the German Interior Ministry. Meanwhile, the flow of newcomers from other countries, including Syria, Afghanistan, and African nations, shows no sign of abating.
In 2023, more than 350,000 people applied for asylum in Germany, the highest number since 2016, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) reported last month.
The German government estimates that approximately 10 million people would flee Ukraine if the country falls apart, Die Welt, citing anonymous security officials and a lawmaker, said in an article on Saturday. The vast majority of these people would head westward in hopes of reaching Germany, the media outlet claims.
Roderich Kiesewetter, an MP from the opposition Christian Democratic Party, told reporters that European nations should pick up the slack as US President Joe Biden’s aid package remains deadlocked in Congress.
“If we don’t change our strategy on support for Ukraine, the worst-case scenario of a massive exodus from Ukraine and a spread of the war to NATO states will be much more likely,” the lawmaker predicted. Kiesewetter went on to warn that in this case, “ten million refugees are a rather lowball assumption.”
Last week, the governor of the German state of Hesse, Boris Rhein, announced that the federal government and all 16 states of the country had agreed to issue special debit cards to refugees, which are supposed to supersede cash payments during the course of the year.
According to the official, the cards will “prevent the possibility of transferring money from state subsidies to countries of origin, and thus combat… human-trafficking.”
Pre-paid cards will apparently have limited functionality, with features such as free cash withdrawal and transfers to recipients inside and outside of Germany disabled. They will also not work outside of the country, or even a designated municipality within it.
Last month, the German parliament passed legislation that facilitates the deportation of failed asylum seekers and grants additional powers to the police. The new rules considerably extend the custody period pending deportation, in order to prevent situations in which failed applicants simply abscond around the time they are supposed to be sent home.