Sep 1, 8:14 AM EDT

Germany: up to $3.7B needed next year to integrate refugees

AP Photo
AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

Latest News
Germany: up to $3.7B needed next year to integrate refugees

Merkel makes vague warning on Catalan independence plan

Merkel: expect Greece to fulfil obligations after election

German leader presses for EU to share migrant burden

UN climate negotiators work in Bonn on deal to fight warming

Exhibit Honors Soviet Photographer
Buy AP Photo Reprints
A district summary of the Beige Book
Measuring economic stress by county nationwide
Mall malaise: shoppers browse, but don't buy
Unemployment by the numbers
Family struggles with father's unemployment
Saying an affordable goodbye
Hard times hit small car dealer
Latest Economic News
Canada in recession; PM Harper denies it as election looms

US factory output up in August at slowest pace since May '13

Germany: up to $3.7B needed next year to integrate refugees

Wobbly euro economy may get bigger push from central bank

Street stalls show shifting face of North Korean economy

Massive gas find promises to ease Egypt's fuel crisis

Economy boosts Portuguese government's re-election bid

Doubts about China's economic leadership sap confidence

3 reasons markets lost faith in China's economy, at a glance

Brazil recession: GDP plunges 1.9 percent in second quarter

Greece's Debt Threatens to Spread
State budget
gaps map
Auto industry problems trickle down, punish Tennessee county
Women give old Derby hats a makeover in tough economy
S.C. town deals with highest unemployment in South
How mortgages were bundled and sold as securities
Tracking the $700 billion financial bailout
Tracking the year's job losses
State-by-state foreclosures since 2007
Credit crisis explained
Presidents and their economic legacies
Lexicon of the financial crisis
Americans' addiction to debt
Berlin Wall: 20 Years Later

BERLIN (AP) -- The German economy has room to accommodate refugees, the labor minister said Tuesday, but the government will need to spend billions of extra euros (dollars) to cover language courses, benefits and their integration into the labor market.

Labor Minister Andrea Nahles' comments came after official data underlined the strength of Europe's biggest economy, showing the national unemployment rate at 6.4 percent in August. That compares with higher jobless rates in many other European countries, topping 20 percent in Greece and Spain.

"Additional workers are needed in many areas of the German economy," Nahles told reporters in Berlin. "We want to use this situation to open up the opportunity for the refugees who have come to us legitimately of a new and better life in Germany."

"Our aim must be to put the people who have come to us into decent work," she said. "The people who are coming as refugees should quickly become neighbors and colleagues."

That, however, will require extra spending on German language courses for refugees, benefits during training and the newcomers' ultimate integration into the labor market. Successful asylum applicants in Germany have to attend "integration courses," which include a language element, but Nahles said that people need further language courses to get a foothold in the labor market.

Next year, Germany will have to spend an extra 1.8 billion to 3.3 billion euros ($2 billion to $3.7 billion) to cover those costs, Nahles said. That figure is expected to rise to 7 billion euros ($7.9 billion) by 2019.

One of Chancellor Angela Merkel's most cherished achievements has been balancing Germany's budget. She said Monday there's still no doubt about it, at least this year, in view of strong government tax income.

Germany expects 800,000 migrants to arrive this year, four times as many as in 2014. The many applicants from countries in southeastern Europe have virtually no chance of being granted asylum, but refugees from countries such as Syria have good chances of staying.

Nahles said much remains unclear about the figures and costs, but authorities expect an extra 240,000 to 460,000 people to be eligible for benefits for job-seekers and their families next year, with the figure possibly rising to 1 million by 2019.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.