German interior minister says no risk of repeat refugee wave

Berlin: German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said there is no risk of a repeat of the massive wave of almost 1 million refugees who arrived in the country two years ago.
“I do not see a development like we had in the autumn of 2015,” De Maiziere said in an interview with dpa published on Saturday.
“We have also done a lot to make sure it doesn’t come to that… The year 2015 cannot, should not and will not be repeated,” he said in an interview conducted earlier in the week in Berlin.
Referring to the rise in migrants crossing the Mediterranean in rickety boats to Italy, the minister said there should no longer be a policy of waving people through.
De Maiziere said that he believed the deal reached between the European Union and Turkey to block the route refugees had previously taken from Turkey into the EU via the Greek islands was holding.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s main rival for the chancellorship in next month’s elections, Social Democrat Martin Schulz, recently warned of a fresh wave of asylum-seekers given the rise in arrivals in Italy.
De Maiziere dismissed fears that these refugees would head north for Germany.
“Firstly, we are better prepared; secondly Italy is behaving differently this time; and thirdly, the numbers of refugees in Italy is not as high as the sweeping claims that are made about it,” the minister said.
He pointed out that the numbers of refugees arriving in Italy had dropped dramatically in July and August.
“We have also told Italy very clearly that there can be no more policy of waving people through. Italy is behaving accordingly,” he said.
Given the ongoing tensions between Turkey and several EU countries, most notably Germany, De Maiziere said that there was no risk of the EU-Turkey refugee deal collapsing.
“Turkey has its own interest in the deal with the EU. It is in force and I have no doubt at present that everyone will continue to stick with it.”
But he also stressed, “We can not be blackmailed.”
De Maiziere did admit that the ongoing tensions had impacted negatively on security cooperation between Turkey and Germany.
— dpa