26 June 2015
The European Migration Network (EMN) have released their annual report on immigration and asylum for 2014, providing an overview on the main legal and policy developments in the area of migration and asylum taking place at EU level and within EU Member States and Norway.
The document observed that political instability, and on-going crises in Europe’s neighbouring regions, have resulted in a sharp increase in asylum applications to EU Member States. In 2014 the 627,710 applications constituted a 30% increase from 2013. This has brought a number of associated challenges to various Member States, such as managing reception capacity and pressures on asylum application systems. These, in turn, have led to prolonged procedures, delays in decision making and long periods of detention for asylum seekers. To combat this, the report notes that many Member States have increased their reception capacity and made improvements in order to provide more dignified and decent conditions. This has been allied with improved processes for examining asylum claims through improved staff training, better access to information for applicants, better legal counselling and greater access to interpretation services.
During 2014, regarding the resettlement of beneficiaries of international protection, almost half of all Member States engaged in general resettlement schemes. In response to the Syrian crisis several special resettlement programmes were developed for refugees originating from this region. In contrast, no Member States reported that they had relocated any beneficiaries of international protection, despite funding being available for this purpose under the European Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.
The report goes on to outline the significant rise in asylum applications submitted by unaccompanied minors, which EMN say have risen by nearly 100% compared to the average number of applications submitted in previous years. In 2014, a total of 23,075 applications were received from unaccompanied minors. In response, a number of EU states introduced a range of institutional, legislative and policy changes, aimed to alleviate this worrying development.
Detailed information can also be found in the document on securing Europe’s external borders, irregular migration and return, and actions addressing trafficking in human beings, as well as European policy on legal migration and integration.