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Reniis'kyi district, Odessa Oblast, Ukraine. Flags in the wind at the Ukrainian border with Romania, in a refugee camp. Photo credit: Michel E

Internal EU report: Asylum applications has increased by half except in Hungary

The asylum disaster continues unabated in 2023. According to a confidential "Status Report on Migration and Refugees" by the EU Commission dated January 11, the number of asylum applications in the EU rose by around half in the past year to well over 900 000.

Published: January 24, 2023, 4:53 am

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    Accordingly, the number of asylum applications in the 27 EU countries increased last year by 46,5 percent to a total of 923 991. The EU Commission’s “situation report” refers to previously unpublished figures from the European Asylum Support Office (EUAA) from the beginning of January.

    Also no surprise is that Germany remains the main destination for economic migrants. The number of applications has increased by a third compared to 2021 to the highest value since 2016. Every third applicant in Germany came from Syria, followed by Afghanistan (17 percent), Turkey (10 percent) and Iraq (6,7 percent).

    Overall, by far the most asylum applications in the EU were made in Germany in 2022, totalling 226 467. France (154 597), Spain (116 952) and Austria (108 490) were the other popular destinations.

    Hungary is at the bottom of the list with only 46 applications. The Orbán government attaches great importance to strict border protection and rigorously deports illegal immigrants.

    Open revolt against incomers

    This human wave is not welcomed by most Germans. The people in the 650-strong village of Peutenhausen (Upper Bavaria) no longer feel safe: after four burglaries and two sexual assaults by asylum seekers, the mood in the village, which has taken in 30 people from Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen, as well as 20 Ukrainian war refugees, has changed.

    Women only leave the house with pepper spray and avoid the dark. “The bad thing is: They sought our protection because they couldn’t find any protection at home because they had to flee. And now we have to protect our citizens here in Germany so that they are not harassed. Of course, that’s a bit schizophrenic,” said Mayor Alfred Lengler (CSU).

    Last week, on Thursday evening, residents of the Saxon community of Laussig, which has around 4 000 inhabitants, moved out to protest against the planned conversion of a former elementary school into asylum accommodation.

    At the same time, the mayor of Laussig, Lothar Schneider, held a non-public meeting with representatives of the district office in the local community center, where they discussed the accommodation of asylum seekers. Up to 300 demonstrators are said to have come together in the small town under the protest motto “Laussig fights back, stop the flood of asylum seekers”.

    The protest march made its way to the municipal office where marchers loudly demanded that Mayor Schneider answer questions. They chanted slogans like: “We don’t want any homes for asylum seekers” and called out the mayor.

    When most of the demonstrators had gone home, the mayor went to the window with a megaphone. When he tried to deny that a decision on housing would be made that day, a commotion erupted in the crowd.

    As reported by a local newspaper, which also supported the protest, construction work for the project had already been going on for days. The crowd reacted and called out to Schneider in chorus: “Resign, resign!” The meeting had not been announced, but the “police operation was largely trouble-free”.

    More asylum seekers expected

    The International Center for Migration Policy (ICMPD) in Vienna believes a second large wave of refugees from Ukraine to be likely. Up to four million war refugees could leave in 2023.

    The Center for Migration Policy, a think tank led by Austrian ex-Vice Chancellor Michael Spindelegger (ÖVP), has run through several scenarios. In their migration outlook for 2023, the experts estimated the number of refugees to range from 500 000 to four million.

    Since the Russian military operation in Ukraine began on February 24, 7,9 million Ukrainians have fled to Europe, according to the report. Some 4,9 million have applied for temporary protection in the EU and other European countries.

    The attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure, which have been ongoing since October, have so far destroyed at least 50 percent of the energy system and placed an immense burden on Ukrainian society. The Viennese experts assume that 18 million Ukrainians within the country are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. “Receiving countries must anticipate scenarios of increasing and potentially sudden influxes of Ukrainian refugees in 2023,” it said.

    The Ukrainian refugees who arrived last year will increasingly enter the labor market from 2023, the ICMPD further predicted. This required more targeted support in the areas of language training, childcare, recognition of qualifications and on-the-job training.

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