Number of EU Asylum Seekers Soars

Written by | Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Approximately 500,000 million people applied for asylum in one of the European Union countries in 2013, which marked an increase by 30 percent compared to 2012. Last year’s number of asylum seekers is also the highest figure ever registered.  EU’s home affairs commissioner, Cecilia Malmstroem, said that the striking number of asylum seekers demonstrated that “we have in our immediate neighbourhood a very worrying situation” as already the first quarter of last year logged an increase of 19 percent in asylum applications compared to the same period in the previous year. The breakdown of asylum applications further suggests that biggest increases in asylum applications were registered in Syria, where the civil war has been raging for four years, followed by Russia and Kosovo. As a by-product of the Ukrainian crisis, the number of asylum seekers from the country has increased significantly with 2,000 applications received only from March to May this year. During the past ten years, the EU countries normally received only about 100 Ukrainian applications a month.
The most popular countries among asylum seekers are Germany, France, Great Britain, Sweden, and Italy. In Italy, the situation is getting critical as the country’s navy rescued about 2,600 people during the last weekend only (July 5-6). Yesterday’s EU-level talks (July 8) in Milan therefore orbited around the issue of mounting migratory pressures on Italy. A possible solution to the refugee problem to be discussed is resettlement. By resettling, refugees can be transferred to Europe, legally leaving out the menacing journey by boat and the danger of human trafficking. So far, only about a half of EU countries agreed to resettle asylum seekers but Commissioner Malmstroem thinks that all 28 should. She pointed out that if the entire EU had joined this initiative, about 150,000 Syrians could have been sheltered.

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