More than 300,000 seek asylum in Germany this year so far: report

Berlin (AFP) - Germany has hosted more than 300,000 asylum seekers since the start of the year, said the daily Die Welt on Saturday, as Berlin prepares for a record influx of refugees in 2015.

According to the conservative newspaper, which cited details of a telephone conference between the interior ministers of German states, "302,415 asylum seekers have already been registered" this year.

This figure is higher than the one given by the Federal Office for Migrants and Refugees (BAMF) which recorded 258,000 current requests. According to Die Welt, this is because the state figures have not yet been picked up at federal level and have therefore not been considered by the BAMF.

Germany's states, which are redistributing asylum seekers on the basis of their capacity to do so, have repeatedly sounded alarms and called for greater federal aid to cope with the influx.

The refugees' office had initially been expecting 450,000 asylum seekers in 2015 but had to revise this forecast upwards to an unprecedented 500,000 people.

In 2014, Germany received more than 202,000 asylum requests, or 60 percent more than in 2013.

And according to Der Tagesspiegel newspaper, unofficial "internal numbers" at the BAMF suggest as many as 600,000 asylum applicants in 2015.

On Friday, BAMF President Manfred Schmidt reported a "record" monthly influx in July, with 79,000 asylum seekers, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Because of its good economic health, Germany has become the leading destination in Europe for migrants, especially for those fleeing poverty, war and persecution.

A huge influx is not without problems in some areas, especially in villages and small towns in eastern Germany where few foreigners live.

Overall since the start of the year, violent incidents against homes or future homes of refugees have increased sharply: 202 between January and June, as many as there were in all of 2014, according to official figures.