War in the Balkans: Refugees - Germany Will Accept 10,000 More Kosovars

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GERMANY BOWED to domestic public pressure yesterday by doubling its intake of Kosovo refugees and demanded that other European Union countries, especially Britain and France, follow suit.

With 10,000 Kosovo Albanians housed in Germany since the start of Nato's bombing campaign, Bonn announced that it would accept another 10,000 refugees.

"I don't think Germany will be overwhelmed if we raise the number to 20,000," said Otto Schily, the Interior Minister, in a radio interview. "I have to act so that something happens quickly," Mr Schily added. "We have to move to help relieve the emergency conditions of the people who need help. I have to do what I can." The Germans are aware that their generosity is a mere drop in the ocean, but the government is being compelled by the strength of public opinion to do more to help the people fleeing Kosovo. Less than a week ago, Mr Schily was resisting even a discussion about Germany's voluntary quota, the biggest in the EU and the first to have been filled. But the threat of revolt in the two parties making up the governing coalition has forced Mr Schily's hand. By last Friday, he had conceded that the quota might be breached in "exceptional cases". Since there are several hundred thousand of those camped in Macedonia and Albania, the Germans are confident they will be able to find enough suitable candidates for the next batch. As Germany opens its doors a little wider, there is growing anger over the foot-dragging shown by its Nato allies. …