EU Sees 10 Per Cent Surge in Asylum Claims in First Half of 2019

A group of approximately 100 Asian migrants face a police blockade, in the vicinity of Maljevac border crossing near Northern-Bosnian town of Velika Kladusa, on October 24, 2018. - Illegal migrants gathered near the border crossing in an attempt to cross into neighboring Croatia. Officers of Bosnian border police and …
ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty Images

The European Union (EU) has seen a 10 per cent rise in the number of asylum claims in the first six months of this year.

The EU’s asylum agency, EASO, reports that 305,000 migrants applied for asylum from January 1st to the end of June this year, a figure up 10 per cent from the same period in 2018, potentially reversing the trend of falling asylum claims since the migrant crisis peaked, Die Welt reports.

Statistics from the EU’s statistical office Eurostat show a trend of decline since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, when 1,257,000 asylum applications were recorded, while 2018 saw 586,000.

The current numbers are still a great deal higher than those of a decade ago in 2009 when Eurostat measured a much lower 196,000 applications.

The numbers do not, however, give the full figures on the number of illegals entering the European Union as some do not apply for asylum, including around half of those claiming to be unaccompanied minor migrants.

Recognition of legitimate asylum status is still relatively low in Europe, with countries like Germany finding only 30 to 50 per cent of those applying for asylum are entitled to it.

Despite rejections, however, Germany still allows many bogus asylum seekers to remain in the country under subsidiary protection, as well as being unable to deport others who lack papers or who supposedly face the possibility of torture or the death penalty in their homelands.

In August 2017, interior minister Horst Seehofer, then Bavarian minister-president, suggested that an estimated 250,000 or so illegal immigrants would be impossible to deport.

Since becoming interior minister in 2018, Seehofer had promised to do more to facilitate the deportations of illegal migrants and failed asylum seekers, setting up so-called anchor centres to speed up the asylum process.

The EU has also seen the start of a rise in migrants in the central Mediterranean once again despite the closure of ports in Italy by populist interior minister Matteo Salvini.

NGOs such as Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and others have resumed migrant transport operations off the coast of Libya and have called on EU countries to take in migrants from the war-torn country.

German NGO vessel captain Carola Rackete, who faces charges in Italy for aiding illegal migration, called on the EU to take as many as 500,000 migrants from Libya, although some have estimated the total number of migrants in Libya to be closer to a million.

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