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Dying to get to Europe: nearly 450,000 asylum seekers a year make their way to EU

Others Article - Asylum policy23-09-2014 - 15:06
A Maltese policeman carries a child rescued by the Armed forces of Malta at Hay Wharf in Valletta on October 12, 2013. More than 140 survivors, plucked from the sea after their overloaded boat sank in the latest deadly migrant tragedy to hit the Mediterranean, arrived in Malta. The sinking killed more than 30, most of them women and children, when the boat packed with people desperate to reach European shores went down off Malta near the Italian island of Lampedusa, according to officials. ©BELGA/AFP/M.Mirabelli   A policeman carries a child rescued when the overloaded boat the boy was in together with other migrants sank in October 2013 ©BELGA/AFP/M.Mirabelli

Asylum applications in the EU were up by some 100,000 in 2013 compared to the year before, while at least 600 people are believed to have died while trying to reach Europe via maritime routes. MEPs will discuss the latest developments on 24 September when the European Commission presents the latest annual report on immigration and asylum to the civil liberties committee. The report stressed that the EU needed to do more on immigration, asylum and the smuggling and trafficking of human beings.

In 2013 more than 430,000 people applied for asylum in the EU in 2013.  The report also shows that 12% of applicants came from Syria, while many also orginiated from Russia, Afghanistan, Serbia, Pakistan and Kosovo.

During the meeting on Wednesday, Robert Visser, the executive director of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), will also present his agency's annual report on the asylum situation in the EU.

The European Parliament has been actively involved in the adopt of new immigration legislation ever since the Lisbon Treaty enterred into force. 

The sinking in October 2013 of a boat off the Italian island of Lampedusa in which more than 360 migrants lost their lives marked a tragic milestone in the European debate on migration and asylum. Commenting on the tragedy EP president Martin Schulz said at the time: "Once again the sea off the coast of Lampedusa has been turned into a large cemetery. We all bear responsibility and have to find a solution together."

You can read the reports and follow the meeting live by clicking on the links on the right. 

REF. : 20140919STO66703
Updated: ( 23-09-2014 - 17:16)