22:36 GMT22 June 2021
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    BERLIN (Sputnik) - The number of asylum-seekers in Germany fell by 66 percent year-on-year to 186,000 in 2017, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Tuesday.

    "The number of the newly registered asylum-seekers has significantly decreased in 2017 in comparison to 2016. It amounted to almost 186,000 individuals [in 2017], while it was 280,000 [in 2016]," de Maiziere said, adding that Berlin successfully overcame the "historic challenge" that it had faced.

    In 2017, the German migration service considered over 600,000 asylum applications, the minister added. About 414,000 of these applications were submitted back in 2016 or earlier, de Maiziere pointed out.

    READ MORE: German Kid's Channel Slammed for 'Promoting Child Marriages With Migrants'

    According to the German Interior Ministry's data, almost 900,000 migrants and refugees arrived in the country in 2015, many of whom were undocumented.

    The European Union has been struggling to tackle an acute migration crisis since 2015, when hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants arrived in the bloc as they fled hostilities in the Middle East and North Africa.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has initiated a so-called open-door policy for migrants, prompting criticism from those claiming that the security situation in the country had worsened due to the migrant influx.

    In 2017, Merkel said that she still believed her method of handling the migration issue was right, but that the crisis of 2015 should never be repeated.


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