Germans more doubtful over migrants after New Year assaults

AFP , Friday 15 Jan 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the debate at the German parliament Bundestag on the crime in Cologne during New Year's Eve, in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016 (Photo: AP)

Germans are more doubtful over their country's ability to cope with the migrant influx, and fear refugees more, after the New Year's Eve mass assaults on women in Cologne, an opinion poll said on Friday.

A survey by the group DeutschlandTrend for the state TV ARD found that 51 percent of German adults said they do not believe Chancellor Angela Merkel's repeated claim -- "we will get there" -- that Germany can absorb the inflow.

In October, 48 percent of respondents said they had this view.

The poll also found that 48 percent of those surveyed said they were afraid of refugees, while 50 percent said they did not have this view.

This question was not asked in October.

The survey covered 1,000 people who were interviewed by phone on January 12 and 13.

Hundreds of women were groped and robbed in a throng of mostly Arab and North African men outside the main railway station of Cologne.

The tally of criminal complaints reached 652 by Thursday, including 331 sex-related crimes, Cologne prosecutors said.

The case has inflamed tensions in Germany, which took in nearly 1.1 million asylum seekers in 2015, mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, and put pressure on Merkel for her welcoming stance toward refugees fleeing war.

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