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Germany has double the number of refugees of Italy

by Marco Ludovico

The overall picture of the influx of refugees shows that Europe is less absent minded when it comes to immigration than it thinks. The burden of welcoming those first arriving on solid ground after their desperate journeys across the Mediterranean, is felt greatly by Italy, as well as Greece. Spain is equipped to minimize the flow of people that go through Morocco.

By June 16th this year, already 58,659 boatloads of refugees have arrived on Italian shores, compared to 57,628 of the same period of 2014. What's worrisome is not so much the slight increase in arrivals in the first half of the year, but the tendency for an increase during Summer months.

The burden of welcoming the new arrivals lies with Italy - the Ministry of the Interior, especially the department of Civil liberties, led by prefect Mario Morcone -, including the risks involved in rescue operations, which are, however, shared by the international naval team set up by the European Union.

The debate between Italy, France and Germany for a new immigration plan has to consider the numbers of immigrants. According to Brussels’ 2014 statistics, the flow of immigrants seeking asylum or international protection is distributed among more states.

Last year, Italy had 64,625 requests. France saw a similar number (64,310), Sweden quite a bit more (81,325), as it has long been a sought after destination. The most striking figure, however, is that of Germany, which registered nearly 203,000 requests.

Even the final results of the decisions taken by the different countries confirm the first impression. Sweden recognizes the status of around 30,000 applicants, France 14,000, Holland 12,000, and Italy just over 20,000, while Germany recognized 40,000.

The behavior of the evaluation committees were also different: Bonn refused over 56,000 applicants, Paris said no to more than 53,000 (three quarters of all applications), Rome turned down 14,600 and Sweden nearly 10,000.

Italy has a lot of trouble with the timing of the committees that evaluate the requests for the recognition of the status of political asylum or refugee status. The wait can last up to a year, during which time, the migrant is entitled to hospitality, usually in a Center for Asylum Seekers (CARA), though the centers are full.

Then there’s the phenomenon of the so called “dublinati” (Dubliners): they are asylum seekers that have reached other EU states from Italy, where they had first arrived, and were thus required to report back to Italy under the Dublin Convention’s regulations.

In 2013 there were more than 15,000 “Dubliners”. The 2014 figures for Germany alone, according to the estimates by the Moressa foundation, were of around 9,000 people.

Asylum seekers in major countries of the EU in 2014

(Source: EU)