While migrant flows to the EU are down, populist sentiment in Southern Europe remains

While migrant flows to the EU are down, populist sentiment in Southern Europe remains

Today, the European Union’s statistics office is expected to release a report on first time asylum applicants registered in the

eu_migration

Photo: AP

Today, the European Union’s statistics office is expected to release a report on first time asylum applicants registered in the EU in 2017.

A similar report highlighted that while the total number of first-time applicants decreased by a margin of about 4% between 2015 and 2016, the distribution of applicants has shifted. Within that time, countries like Italy and Germany saw an increase in applications by 46% and 63%, respectively. Countries like Belgium and Denmark, on the other hand, saw net declines of 63% and 71%, respectively.

Critics of EU distribution policies have directed their grievances at the EU’s existing 2013 Dublin III  doctrine on applications for internal protection. They argue that the rules disproportionately burden border countries and inefficiently handle the process of seeking asylum when the asylum seeker arrives first in a country they do not intend to inhabit.

With EU member states such as Italy leaning towards populism and states like Hungary actively trying to legislate around EU asylum seeker policies, expect more states to use 2017 distribution data to further advance their arguments in favour of changes to existing policies.

Delve deeper: Changing migrant routes: an emerging EU challenge

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