Three million migrants are expected to arrive in Europe by the end of 2017, the European Union has warned.
In a bombshell report, EU economists predicted the crisis would get even worse with a 50 per cent rise in the numbers pouring in next year.
The warning came as the Government minister in charge of Britain’s international response said the migration crisis engulfing Europe is likely to last for 20 years.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said the humanitarian crisis in Syria was so severe that it was unlikely many refugees would return home within two decades.
She also condemned Russia’s air strikes in the warzone, claiming the controversial bombardment had worsened the crisis by forcing even more Syrians to flee in search of sanctuary.
And she blasted Western countries for failing to ‘step up to the plate’ and properly fund the aid mission to the region – or face more displaced people trying to make the treacherous trip to Europe.
In Brussels, the European Commission claimed the ‘unprecedented influx’ of migrants could help boost the economy, but critics warned they needed to get a grip of the chaos.
‘Overall, an additional three million persons is assumed to arrive in the EU over the forecast period,’ the European Commission’s economic forecast for 2015-2017 said.
It predicted there would be no let-up in arrivals until the end of next year, with one million in total during 2015, soaring to 1.5 million in 2016 and then decreasing to half a million in 2017.
The Commission claimed this would represent a 0.4 per cent EU population increase once unsuccessful asylum applications were taken into account.
Officials in Germany yesterday said they had registered more than 758,000 asylum seekers so far this year, with Syrians accounting for one in three applicants.
The UN refugee agency warned that it expected 5,000 people to arrive from Turkey every day through the winter. Despite the deteriorating conditions it predicted there would be 600,000 crossings in the next four months.
German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he expected the inflow of people there to cost the country 20 billion euros in 2016.