STEPHEN GLOVER: Before Germany lectures us about refugees, perhaps it should reflect on its own past
The truth about German claims and the real numbers Britain takes: JAMES SLACK'S analysis of the migrant crisis
Broadly speaking, Germany and Britain have similar proportions of foreign-born people — 12.2 per cent and 12.5 per cent respectively. But in recent years Germany has been actively encouraging immigrants. Britain, while absorbing similar inflows, has been more ambivalent about the process.
The main reason is that Germany has a declining birth rate and a falling population. This stood at 82.21 million in 2000; despite high levels of immigration, it had fallen to 80.76 million by 2014. During the same period, Britain’s population soared from 58.89 million to 64.3 million. On present trends, the population of this country could exceed that of Germany by the middle of the century.
This explains, in large measure, why Germany seems almost eager to welcome new migrants, while often not troubling too much as to whether they are asylum-seekers or economic migrants. The German economy needs to boost its working-age population
Only last week we learnt that net immigration to this country in the 12 months to March was an all-time record of 330,000.
In Whitehall, there is deep irritation at the attempt by Germany to present Britain as a country which does not take its fair share of asylum seekers.
In the 2000s, Britain consistently processed more claims than Germany – including 103,081 in 2002 alone.
Indeed, there were so many applications that the system run by the last Labour Government almost collapsed under the strain.
There is also some scepticism inside Whitehall over Germany’s claim that it will take 800,000 asylum seekers this year.In the first three months, it received 83,130 applications and, even with the scale of the current crisis, the numbers arriving would need to increase dramaticallyEngland is also nearly twice as crowded as Germany and has more migrants per population.
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