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Since the beginning of the war, many Ukrainians – but also Russians – have been seeking refuge in the countries of the European Union. Where are they going, and which are the countries that already hosted the largest Ukrainian communities?
Ukrainian refugees now enter the EU under the aegis of the ultra-fast special protection system, but regular reception centres across the Union are piling up hundreds of thousands of applications and rejecting many. EU members states' asylum systems average more than 15 months of delay.
The various COVID-19 related lockdowns and closures of the EU’s borders have reduced mobility, particularly of migrants. First-time asylum applications fell by 37 percent between 2019 and November 2020.
Every year, almost 100,000 Europeans seek asylum in EU countries, and the number of applications continues to grow. Yet this is a phenomenon which remains at the margins of the debate on asylum – and that on EU enlargement.
Greece has a new center-right government since summer 2019. Its approach to migration differs sharply from its predecessor’s, as more controls and constraints are imposed on asylum seekers. The government claims that the system will become more efficient, but some organisations are unconvinced.
Compared to 2015, the number of asylum applicants in EU countries dropped by half in 2018. Europe is far from being the first refuge for forcibly displaced persons: 80% of them are hosted in countries of the Global South.
Europe facing the refugee crisis.
While it may seem that the refugee-migration crisis is over, more than 100,000 migrants and refugees are still present in Greece. Many of them live in refugee camps, which are not appropriate accommodation solutions because of their location in faraway, poorly connected areas.
In 2016 3230 people lost their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. Since then the number of deaths has dropped – but the crossing is becoming ever more dangerous.
In the second quarter of 2019 six percent of the citizens from Bangladesh applying for asylum in Italy got positive decisions.