450,000 refugees arrived in Germany since January: Vice-chancellor

German Vice-Chancellor, Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel arriving at the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, on Aug 10, 2015.
German Vice-Chancellor, Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel arriving at the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, on Aug 10, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (AFP) - Around 450,000 refugees have arrived in Germany so far this year, including 37,000 in the first eight days of September, Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told Parliament on Thursday (Sept 10).

"Up to the day before yesterday, Germany registered 450,000 refugees, including 105,000 in August, and 37,000 in the first eight days of September. There may be more than 100,000 in September," he said.

"Honestly speaking, this shows that the distribution of 160,000 refugees across Europe is a first step, if one wants to be polite," said Mr Gabriel, referring to the European Commission's proposal for EU member states to share out the new arrivals.

"Or you could call it a drop in the ocean," he added.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged the 28-nation bloc to go further and agree on a proportional distribution of refugees with no limits on actual numbers, amid a record influx from war-torn Syria and other countries.

"We cannot just fix a ceiling and say, 'I don't care about anything above that'," she told parliament on Wednesday.

Germany is expecting to welcome 800,000 asylum-seekers this year, four times more than last year and far more than any other European country.