Refugee numbers in Germany dropped dramatically in 2017

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By Katy Dartford
Refugee numbers in Germany dropped dramatically in 2017

The number of new asylum seekers in Germany dropped significantly in 2017 to 186,644, but the country's interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, says he still considers that figure "much too high."

In 2016, when the Balkan refugee route was largely shut down, that figure was 280,000, with a peak in 2015 at 890,000.

De Maizière, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party, said that refugees, particularly from the Middle East and Afghanistan, remained a general European problem.

But he added that, for now, the greatest influx was past for Germany.

It comes as a report has revealed that almost half of rejected asylum seekers in Germany in 2017 won on appeal. That compares with just 29 percent in 2016.

Franziska Vilmar, from Amnesty International Germany said that courts are trying to improve the quality of the decisions being made on refugee asylum requests. 

It's almost, she adds, like saying to the incoming government "if they don't want the courts to be  overburdened anymore, they should change their course and allow for more family reunification claims to be approved in the first place. 

Because currently most claims are requests to be reunited with other family members."

A more than two-year long migration crisis has caused immigration to become a major political issue in many European countries.

In France a record number of asylum requests were recorded last year, rising by 17 percent to over 100,000.

Albanians topped the list despite having less chance of obtaining refugee status than people from war-torn countries such as Syria or Afghanistan.