Photo Courtesy of Siemens

Siemens Offers Empty Offices to House Refugees

Nov. 4, 2014
The company offered its 320,000-square-foot premises in Munich which had housed its commercial department for southern Germany which recently moved to new offices.

BERLIN -- As the country grapples with a rise in asylum-seekers, especially from Syria, Siemens (IW 1000/33) said Monday it had offered its empty offices in Munich to accommodate refugees.

"We've proposed to the city authorities ... to make our former branch in Munich available for refugees," a Siemens spokesman said, confirming a report in Spiegel news weekly.

Siemens makes products ranging from power stations to high-speed trains and medical imaging equipment.

The roughly 320,000-square-foot premises in the Bavarian city had until now housed Siemens commercial department for southern Germany which recently moved to new offices.

City and local authority officials visited the site last Friday, the spokesman said. A decision was expected in coming days on when and how many refugees can be accommodated there, he added.

Germany this year expects some 200,000 asylum seekers to cross its borders -- nearly 60% more than in 2013 when numbers had already soared by almost two-thirds.

The leading country of origin is Syria, where over three years of bloody fighting have driven more than three million people to flee, mostly to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

Across Germany, former army barracks have been requisitioned, and tents and mobile homes set up to house refugees.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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