German authorities released the most recent migration numbers, showing a significant decline in arrivals compared to previous months. But the figures were still double the number from January 2015.
The Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Ministry of Migration and Refugees released their latest reports on refugee figures, showing that migration numbers had markedly declined.
Germany registered close to 92,000 migrants in January, a number which represents less than half of November's level of more than 200,000. Among last month's total, some 35,822 people came from Syria, while 18,563 came from Iraq and 18,099 from Afghanistan.
The Interior Ministry said that in January, 91,671 people had registered on the so-called EASY system, which is used for processing refugees in Germany, but gave no explanation for the notable drop in arrivals. The ministry had said before that the downward trend was due mainly to freezing winter weather.
The EASY system is used to record people in reception centers and to distribute them around the country based on each German state's population and tax revenue. Registration on the system is separate from officially applying for asylum.
Despite the decline in numbers compared to the previous few months, the tally stood at more than double the number of new arrivals registered in January 2015.
A changing development in refugee numbers could be a much-welcome trend for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government. Support for her refugee policy has fallen sharply in recent months, with a recent poll showing that 81 percent of people believed her government did not have the current situation under control.
Merkel said the number of migrants entering Germany would fall after totaling 1.1 million people last year. Germany became the final destination for the vast majority of migrants who reached Europe in 2015, with the largest number of asylum seekers fleeing from war and conflict in Syria.
Merkel had recently announced that the majority of arrivals from "safe" countries of origin, including Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, would be deported under expedited circumstances; however, asylum-seekers from North African countries only amount to a small fraction of all arrivals.
ss/sms (Reuters, BAMF)