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EU Population Soars to 512M Due to Influx of Refugees

Migrants at refugee camp in Germany
Migrants walk in front of tents in a refugee camp in Celle, Lower-Saxony, Germany on Oct. 15, 2015. |

The European Union's (EU) population now stands at 511.8 million after growing by about 1.5 million in 2016 due to the number of refugees entering the countries since the year before. This was bared by Eurostat, EU's official center for statistical research.

Eurostat's report said the number of births and deaths were roughly equal, which means the population growth was caused by net migration. The population increased in 18 EU member states and decreased in 10 last year. Luxembourg led the way in population increase with 19.8 more inhabitants per 1,000 inhabitants. Its population now stands at 590,700.

Germany and Sweden have the most number of people. Germany's population increased by 7.6 people per 1,000 inhabitants and now stands at 82.8 million. Sweden saw a net increase of 14.5 people per 1,000 inhabitants and now has 9.995 residents.

The increase in the number of people in Germany was attributed to Chancellor Angela Merkel's no maximum migrant quota policy. This was put in place to counter moves by the country's Christian Social Union to limit the number of migrants to 200,000 a year after 1.1 million refugees crossed its borders in 2015.

Britain has 426,000 new people representing a 6.5 percent increase. It remains as EU's third most populous member behind Germany and France, and it is home to 12.9 percent of the total EU population. Like her German counterpart, Britain's Theresa May expressed openness to refugees.

At the G20 summit this week in Hamburg, the prime minister told leaders that "refugees should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach." She also expressed support for the development of a better approach to managing economic migration including providing humanitarian assistance to refugees in their home countries.

The escalating migration crisis plaguing Europe has posed a challenge to each country's security and resources. Those who are against opening the borders cite security risks due to crime and terrorist threats posed by the migrants. Security officials cite the possibility that jihadists might use the crisis as a cover to sneak operatives into Europe.

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