Sunday

17th Feb 2019

EU asylum applications on the rise

  • NGOs deplore prison-like conditions in asylum detention centres in some EU member states (Photo: Ikolas Kominis - Studio Kominis)

The number of people seeking asylum in Europe is on the rise, as conflicts and poverty force families to leave their home countries.

The EU statistics office, Eurostat, said on Friday (22 March) the EU registered 330,000 asylum seekers in 2012, up from 302,000 applicants in 2011.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Syrian nationals are now the second most common asylum seeker in Europe, with the war pushing over 1 million refugees into neighbouring countries.

Afghans remain the top asylum applicants in the EU followed closely by Syrians, Russians, Pakistanis and Serbs.

The United Nations agency for refugees (UNHCR) says nearly 22,000 Syrians applied for asylum in Europe last year. Last week, Germany announced it would accept some 5,000 Syrian refugees with the first arrivals expected in June.

Every EU member state has reported an increase of Syrian applicants, except in Greece where poor asylum conditions deprive applicants of basic rights.

Under the EU's so-called Dublin regulation, member states are entitled to send back any would-be refugee to the country where he first entered to claim asylum. The Dublin convention was introduced 15 years ago but vast divergences on the how it is applied remain.

Reports of abuse, violence, and neglect prompted the European Court of Human Rights in 2011 to rule it illegal to send refugees to Greece from another EU member state.

The Greek asylum crisis continues.

In a February letter addressed to EU commissioner for home affairs Cecilia Malmstrom, the Brussels-based European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) said asylum seekers in Greece “are increasingly the victims of racist attacks.”

The NGO describes the Greek asylum system as dysfunctional. A lack of access to standard asylum procedures and abusive detention conditions are still common.

The NGO notified the commissioner that Greece’s asylum policy and management could be turned over to its ministry of civil protection and public order.

The ministry is responsible for installing a 12-kilometre barbed wire fence on the Turkish border to stop migrants from crossing into the Greece.

It is also behind the operation Xenios Zeus named after the patron of hospitality and guests in Greek mythology.

Xenios Zeus saw police sweep up thousands of undocumented migrants, arrested those with no legal documents, and placed them in temporary detention centres. In November last year, rounded up undocumented migrants set fire to one of the centres in protest.

EU to propose scrapping summer time change

Based on the preliminary results of an online survey in which mostly Germans took part, the EU executive is proposing that the whole EU stops changing times in March and October.

Investigation

How to get around the EU posted workers directive

Some EU careworkers in Belgium receive around €400 a month - despite their carers paying €2,500 a month and paying for flights and accommodation. The answer lies in how firms can skirt the safeguards in the EU's posted workers directive.

Feature

Resetting the gender balance through football

Many sports, like football, have been so heavily male-dominated at every level that women and girls have battled against poor odds to be treated as equals in the game. FIFA aims to change that.

News in Brief

  1. Spain's Sanchez calls snap election on 28 April
  2. 15,000 Belgian school kids march against climate change
  3. May suffers fresh Brexit defeat in parliament
  4. Warning for British banks over Brexit staff relocation
  5. Former Italian PM wants Merkel for top EU post
  6. Antisemitic incidents up 10% in Germany
  7. Italy's asylum rejection rate at record high
  8. Hungary will not claim EU funds for fraudulent project

Stakeholder

A touch of football at this year's G20 summit

FIFA president Gianni Infantino addressed the G20 leaders and placed football at their disposal as a powerful tool to help them address the challenges facing the world today.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  2. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  4. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  7. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”

Latest News

  1. Sluggish procedure against Hungary back on table
  2. Could Finnish presidency fix labour-chain abuse?
  3. Brexit and trip to Egypt for Arab League This WEEK
  4. Belgian spy scandal puts EU and Nato at risk
  5. EU Parliament demands Saudi lobby transparency
  6. Saudi Arabia, but not Russia, on EU 'dirty money' list
  7. EU agrees draft copyright reform, riling tech giants
  8. Rutte warns EU to embrace 'Realpolitik' foreign policy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us