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    Migrants cue to enter Austria in Sentilj, Slovenia, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015.

    Number of Asylum Seekers in EU Doubles, More Than Half Head to Hungary

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    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)
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    The summer months in Europe witnessed a surge in applications from migrants and refugees seeking asylum, with more than 410,000 registering their claim between July and September 2015, almost double the number than the previous three months.

    The increased numbers of people reaching Europe, coincided with a concerted effort by many Eastern European countries to stop asylum seekers from entering their territory.

    Most notably was Hungary, which was the first country to build an unofficial border constructed from razor wire to stem the flow of migrants. At the same time, Prime Minister Viktor Orban amended legislation to change the definition of asylum seekers to economic migrants.

    Hungarian army soldiers erect a fence on the border with Croatia near Zakany, Hungary, October 1, 2015.
    © REUTERS / Bernadett Szabo
    Hungarian army soldiers erect a fence on the border with Croatia near Zakany, Hungary, October 1, 2015.

    Anyone entering the country illegally to claim asylum can be arrested and rendered unable to access any rights in relation to the European Union's asylum law.  

    The next contention was the continued refusal by Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and the Czech Republic to refuse to sign up to the European Commission's proposed quota system to share asylum seekers proportionally between member states — predominantly to ease the burden on Greece and Italy, the first entry point into the EU for refugees and migrants.

    Out of the 413,800 asylum seekers who applied for international protection in the European Union, one in three are from Syria.

    More than half, according to data compiled by Eurostat applied for asylum in Germany and Hungary, both with around 108,000 first time applications.

    Compared with the population of each member state, Hungary registered the highest number of asylum seeker applications per million people living there. This is above Sweden, Austria, Finland Germany Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal and the Czech Republic.

    The Hungarian statistics are often overlooked as scorn is poured upon the country's PM's anti-immigration rhetoric.

    The European Commission has decided to take action against Hungary and begin infringement proceedings against Orban's controversial asylum law.

    "Hungary should take heed and act now to restore the rights of asylum seekers to access its territory and fair asylum determination proceedings," said Iverna McGowan, acting director for Amnesty International's European office.

    Yet Orban's stance remains unmoved. 

    In a recent interview with Politico, he said it was "politically irresponsible" to continue to allow migrants into the EU, unchecked, since they "may or do commit acts of terror."

    Meanwhile, Brussels remains firm that all member states must take part in the process of redistributing asylum seekers around Europe. But Hungary and other Eastern European countries continue to resist.

    Perhaps on principle, or perhaps they think they are already registering disproportionately more asylum seekers than other countries, as the recent statistics from Eurostat suggest. 

    Topic:
    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)

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    Tags:
    economic migrants, free movement, migrant quota, refugee crisis, Schengen area, applications, asylum seekers, relocation, humanitarian crisis, migrants, Hungarian Prime Minister's Office, European Commission, Amnesty International, European Union, Viktor Orban, Hungary, Europe, Eastern Europe
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