Frontex, Germany and Sweden exaggerate the number of refugees

Some entrances may be counted twice, and the prognosis are unrealistic

PHOTO: Brian Esbensen, Hungary.

The actual number of asylum seekers registered in Germany from January 1st to Sepember 30th 2015 is: 303,400. If we include the numbers from the special EASY-registration system the total will be 577.300. However, the numbers are not exact, as there is a risk that one person can be registered in more than one region of Germany – and on the other hand, many may not be registered yet. There is no doubt that a lot of people have arrived in Germany, and in a very short time. But it seems strange that members of the German government estimate that between 800,000, one million and even 1,5 million will seek asylum in Germany this year. Just one million would be a rise of 100-200% over the next 3 months.

If we look at the number of asylum seekers per month last year in Denmark, September was the peak and after that the numbers were declining; in December it was less than a quarter of the number for September. This reflects of course the fact that the Mediterranean sea is too dangerous to cross this late in the year, and the journey northwards through Europe is also not safe in minus degrees. Therefore it must be expected that the number of new arrivals to Europe will decline over the next months – at least not rise. Volunteers in the Greek islands tell us that refugees are becoming desperate to "make it in time."

A similar inexpliccable prognosis is given by Sweden. During the first 9 months 73,079 have asked for asylum in the country, and the Swedish numbers are more reliable, but the government estimates that a total of 150,000 will be reached for this year. This would be a double up over 3 months.

There are also problems regarding the count of how many have actually arrived in Europe in total. According to EUs border agency Frontex, 710,000 have arrived including September. But the agency admits that many could be counted more than once, as the numbers are found by adding all the EU countries' registrations – and this way, many will be counted in e.g. Greece, Hungary and Germany. 

IOM (International Organization for Migration) and UNHCR (UN High Commission for Refugees) almost have the same number for how many arrived over the Mediterranean sea: 590,000 and 588,200. But these numbers do not include the asylum seekers coming from Balkan. 

It seems that the size of the refugee crisis is being exaggerated by many. Danish media have also many times used numbers that were totally misleading. One example is the large press agency Ritzau who wrote on September 27: "At least 16,000 refugees have arrived in Denmark over the last 20 days", and "the numbers continue to rise". Nowhere was it mentioned that almost all of them continued to Sweden without even being registered in Denmark. The total of registered asylum seekers in Denmark for the first 9 months of this year is 10,700.

There is also a big difference between how many are arriving to ask for asylum and how many will actually get permission to stay. This differentiation is not always clear for media and politicians. Germany turns down more than half, because many are coming form the Balkan countries, as opposed to Sweden and Denmark where we mainly receive Syrians and therefore grant asylum to 80-90%.

Sources: Numbers for registered in Germany, Sweden and Denmark come from the home pages of the three countries' migration authorities:, and Numbers from Frontex, IOM and UNHCR come from