Germany to make extra $9.5 billion available for refugees: Coalition

A man holds up a German flag and flashes a victory sign to greet refugees at the premises of a temporary refugee reception centre in Neu-Isenburg near Frankfurt Main, Germany, on Sept 6, 2015.
A man holds up a German flag and flashes a victory sign to greet refugees at the premises of a temporary refugee reception centre in Neu-Isenburg near Frankfurt Main, Germany, on Sept 6, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

BERLIN (AFP) - Germany, which is currently opening its doors to a record number of refugees, will make an additional six billion euros (S$9.5 billion) in public funds available next year to cover the cost of looking after them, the ruling coalition parties decided on Monday.

"The federal government will increase its 2016 budget by 3.0 billion euros to cope with the situation with refugees and asylum-seekers and the regional state governments and local authorities will make available a further 3.0 billion euros," the conservative CDU and Social Democrat SPD parties said in a joint statement issued after a late night meeting on Sunday. Germany is expecting to receive a record 800,000 asylum seekers this year.

The government would seek to reach agreement with the regional states on exactly how the cash will be used by Septemmber 24, the statement added.

"In these weeks and months, Germany is the destination for an unprecedented number of refugees who are seeking protection from war, persecution and distress," the statement said.

The government hailed the "wave of solidarity" that Germans were showing to these refugees and said the country's economic strength would enable Germany to meet the challenges of taking them in.

Germany, Europe's biggest economy, has taken in by far the EU's largest numbers of refugees amid the biggest refugee crisis since World War II.0 The total number is expected to reach 800,000 this year - four times last year's total - at a cost of about 10 billion euros to the state.

This weekend alone, some 17,000 migrants were expected to have passed through Bavaria, federal police said.

While Germany has seen a spate of xenophobic rallies and attacks against foreigners, especially in the former communist East, many people believe the country, given its dark wartime and Holocaust history and current wealth, has a special obligation to help refugees.