EU asylum applications rise for first time since 2015 wave

Sallie Anderson

Asylum applications to the EU increased for the first time in 2015 since the migration crisis of 2015, according to the latest report from the European Asylum Assistance Office (Easo) on Thursday (25 June).

The Easo report shows that migration patterns in the EU differ substantially from nation to nation, and from north to south.

Half of all asylum applications in the EU were lodged in simply 3 member states – particularly, Germany (22 percent), France (17 percent) and Spain (16 percent).

On The Other Hand, in 2019, Cyprus, France, Greece, Malta and Spain got more asylum candidates than in 2015.

Since March 2020, there were an overall of 836,000 pending cases from people looking for asylum.

“The facts in this report show, we must manage migration better. It is clear that some countries could contribute a lot more,” stated commissioner for home affairs Ylva Johansson at the online launch of the Easo report.

“Migration has always been here, will always be here. Our task is to manage migration in an orderly way and to protect fundamental rights,” she added.

While the variety of applications from Syrian nationals declined somewhat in 2019 in contrast with the previous year, demands from Afghan and Venezuelan residents increased dramatically.

Venezuelan nationals lodged about 46,000 applications in 2019 – more than double than in the previous year.

Due to language and cultural connections, asylum applicants from Latin America lodged their applications generally in Spain.

Likewise, applications by Afghans were mainly lodged in Greece, in line with increased arrivals along the Eastern Mediterranean path.

Post Covid-19 boost anticipated

An overall of practically 912,000 people were waiting for a decision in Europe at the end of 2019.

While treatments take less than 2 months in some countries, lots of take around 17 months, and usually 25 percent of treatments in Europe takes longer than 2 years.

“The number of pending cases still awaiting a decision at the end of 2019 remained much higher compared to the pre-2015 level, illustrating the pressure under which asylum and reception systems are still operating,” checks out the report.

While the coronavirus pandemic minimized stockpiles in early 2020 as a result of momentary office closures, still there had to do with 836,000 pending cases at the end of March.

General, the coronavirus and national emergency situation steps resulted in an 87 percent decrease in asylum applications in current months.

Nevertheless, asylum demands were gradually increasing in May and Easo anticipate a boost in these numbers and the go back to pre-Covid-19 patterns.

“EU countries should be prepared for increases in asylum applications in the medium term, including due to the repercussions of Covid-19 on low-income countries,” they stated.

‘ Necessary’ vs quotas

The European Commission will provide the long-stalled Typical European Asylum System when member states reach an arrangement on the bloc’s long-lasting budget – the proposition is anticipated after the summer season.

“I’m quite optimistic that we can reach a proposal that can be accepted and adopted. Even though I understand it is also very difficult,” stated commissioner Johansson.

Following the arrival of about one million people in 2015, the EU’s policy-making surrounding migration has actually been stymied.

The commission’s proposition in 2016 required an automated system based upon quotas per member state however met stiff resistance from some countries.

Eastern European countries, especially Hungary and Poland, oppose any necessary system to rearrange asylum applicants throughout the bloc – while ‘frontline’ countries like Italy, Spain or Greece demand this element.

Johansson stated on Thursday that Europe requires a “mandatory solidarity mechanism,” however the style of the brand-new migration bundle is still uncertain since it should please all member states’ positions.

Spain will turn down any plan by the commission for not consisting of moving quotas, Spanish paper El País just recently reported.

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