The number of people applying for asylum in Germany rose to almost 180,000 in the first half of the year, more than twice as many as in the same period of 2014.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Monday that the figures demonstrate the big challenges the country faces in coping with the influx of refugees.

Many Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans who arrive on Europe's shores by boat try to continue their journey to Germany or Scandinavia.

Germany has criticized countries including Italy for failing to properly register refugees, as EU rules require, but officials acknowledged Monday that German police also struggle to do so.

Border police chief Dieter Romann says his officers aren't always able to fingerprint all new arrivals within the 48-hour requirement.