The number of asylum seekers in EU increased dramatically this year. According to the latest Eurostat data, up to September, the European Union received 812.300 requests, more than double compared to the previous two years.
In September 2014, 378.260 people applied for international protection of the Member States of the European Union. In the same period of 2013 there were 308.825 applications.
Eurostat has not released data from the last quarter yet, but the European Statistics Centre already registered 119.095 requests in some countries in October which takes the amount of asylum seekers around one million two months before the end of the year.
This means that by December 2015 the number of first asylum requests likely will pass the million.
Asylum seekers mainly arrive in summer time thanks to good weather conditions.
The Hungarian case
While the number of first time Asylum request increase globally in EU, the figures from Hungary of this year are in counter-trend. The country received only 490 asylum requests in October. An incredible gap compared to August’s figure of 46.720.
The Hungarian Ministry of Interior confirms to Articolo 21 that they had received 492 first time asylum requests. This brings the figure back to the begin of 2014.
After the massive wave of migration during the summer, in September the Hungarian government declared the state of emergency related to immigration arrivals and they built a fence on their border with Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia.
“Until 15 of September the Hungarian police was still fingerprinting people and then processing them for asylum applications,” says Barbora Cernusakova, Amnesty International’s researcher on Hungary.
“In October Hungary stopped to do this. The country was just a transit without registering these people.”
According to Ms Cernusakova this is the results of the amendments of the asylum act and also of the criminal code. And this is the result of the sealing of the Hungarian borders with Serbia and Croatia.
The Prime Minister Viktor Orbán declared that “no hotspots, refugee camps, distribution centres or collection points may be established in Hungary” and, on the 21 September, Hungary’s parliament authorised the government to deploy the military to protect their borders.
“This basically rendered Hungary a refugee free zone” said Ms Cernusakova. “The reason for it is that, after the criminal code entered into force, whoever crosses the border barrier commit a criminal offence punishable up to three years of prison sentence or, and this is the preferred option, people can be deported.”
At the end of September, according to Ms. Cernusakova, several hundred people were prosecuted.
“Another issue” concludes the Amnesty International’s researcher “is that whoever enters into Hungary through Serbia or Croatia is considered to be entered from a safe country and asylum application will be rejected in the admissibility stage. So there is no chance for anybody coming from Serbia and Croatia to apply successfully for asylum in Hungary under the current law.”
The 10 December the European Commission opened infringement procedure against Hungary regarding its asylum and criminal law. “The infringement procedure is the revenge of the political groups which condemn Hungary’s firm policy of protecting its borders” declared the Hungarian Prime Minister.