A boy walks after crossing the Macedonian border into Serbia with other migrants, near the village of Miratovac, on January 29, 2016. / AFP / ARMEND NIMANI
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Senior German conservatives sought at the weekend to reassure Germans concerned about a record migrant influx, saying numbers must go down and criminal refugees could be deported as a poll showed support for the bloc slipping.Some 1.1 million migrants streamed into Germany last year, and regions and communities have complained that they are being overwhelmed. Chancellor Angela Merkel said most refugees from Syria and Iraq would go home once the conflicts there had ended and urged other European countries to offer more help "because the numbers need to be reduced even further and must not start to rise again, especially in spring". The record influx and associated concerns are taking their toll politically, with support for Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) sister party falling by 2 percentage points to 34 percent in an Emnid survey for Bild am Sonntag.Concerns about migrants have boosted support for the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), with the Emnid survey putting it on 12 percent, marking it as the third strongest political force in Germany after Merkel's bloc and their junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats (SPD).
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