November 10, 2015 / 6:24 PM / 3 years ago

Germany tones down welcoming message for Syrian refugees

BERLIN (Reuters) - Syrian refugees who have made it to Germany may be sent on to other European countries, the German Interior Ministry said on Tuesday, an apparent reversal of an earlier policy that suggested all asylum seekers from Syria would be allowed to stay.

A Syrian refugee holds his newborn baby as he arrives on a raft on the Greek island of Lesbos, November 10, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

In August, Germany decided to waive for Syrian refugees the European Union’s Dublin rules, which oblige migrants to request asylum in the first EU country they arrive in.

But since then, Germany has struggled to cope with the flood of migrants, the biggest on the European continent since World War Two. Last week, the Interior Ministry said a record 181,000 migrants had arrived in Germany in October. The government expects 800,0000 to one million overall.

In an emailed statement, the Interior Ministry said the Dublin rules had applied to Syrian nationals, which make up the biggest group of asylum seekers in Germany, since Oct. 21.

It said the Ministry for Migration and Refugees would decide case-by-case whether to let migrants apply for asylum in Germany or transfer them to other EU states.

In recent days calls, have grown among conservative politicians to limit the flow of migrants, including a proposal to cancel family reunion rights for some Syrian refugees.

On Sunday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Germany needed to let world know that it’s reaching the limit of its capacity to help Europe’s flood of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Reporting by Thorsten Severin and Caroline Copley

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