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Spain now the top destination for asylum seekers in Europe

26 May 20200 comments

Spain has eclipsed Germany as the top destination for asylum-seekers in Europe thanks to an influx of displaced people from Latin America, according to new data.

A new reports from the European Union’s asylum agency EASO says that Spain has surpassed Germany in the number of asylum applications received, as the coronavirus pandemic begins to shift longstanding migration patterns.

But it also warns that more people to flee Iraq and Syria as a result of a resurgent Islamic State.

Data collected from each EU member state, as well as Switzerland and Norway, shows German authorities received 33,714 asylum applications from January to April of this year, while in the same time period Spain received 37,471.

France and Greece were the next most common destinations.

Unlike Germany, which mostly saw asylum-seekers from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Spain’s came predominantly from Latin America.

According to the data, Colombia and Venezuela were the sources of 32 per cent of asylum seekers each, and 6.5 per cent came from Honduras.

Venezuelans have been suffering from shortages of basic necessities such as medicine, food, and fuel — despite being one of the nation being one of the most oil-rich nations on Earth.

Under the leadership of President Nicolas Maduro, the price of food, already exorbitantly expensive, has increased by 80 per cent and this has worsened under the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

About 70 per cent of the nation’s doctors have emigrated and one in five hospitals do not have sufficient water supply.

Overall, though, the number of asylum seekers arriving in the European Union decreased significantly in the first quarter of 2020.

The number of asylum applications submitted to EU member states, Switzerland and Norway went down by 25 percent in the first four months of 2020, the EASO report revealed.  

From the beginning of January to the end of April, a total of 164,718 asylum applications were submitted.

During the same period in 2019, more than 220,000 applications were received. This year,

After Germany and Spain, the next top destinations included France with 28,710 applications, Greece, with 21,153 and Italy, with 8,025. 

EASO announced at the end of April that asylum applications in the EU had almost halved in March due to travel restrictions enacted to curb the virus outbreak.

But the organisation also warned that the number of refugees coming to Europe is also likely to rise significantly in the medium-term, as coronavirus outbreaks in the Middle East and North Africa could lead to food shortages.

Also, the suspension of international military operations against Islamic State during the pandemic has left a power vacuum in Iraq and Syria.

The report cites worries that this could lead to a resurgence of IS, prompting an increase in asylum-related migration over the coming months.