• Monday, Sep 24, 2018
  • Last Update : 02:31 am

Transit centres for asylum seekers

  • Published at 09:16 am July 4th, 2018
  • Last updated at 09:19 am July 4th, 2018
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Migrants line up to receive personal hygiene goods distributed outside the main building of the disused Hellenikon airport where stranded refugees and migrants, most of them Afghans, are temporarily accommodated in Athens. Reuters

The number of persons seeking asylum from non-EU countries in the EU-28 during the first quarter of 2018 was 131,000

Germany plans “transit centres” on its border with Austria for asylum seekers registered in other EU countries. They could then be returned directly from the centres to their point of entry nation into Europe.

Austria has threatened measures to protect its borders if the plan goes ahead -- a sign that the deal could affect the EU’s Schengen passport-free travel zone.

On Monday, the European Commission announced an additional €45.6 million in emergency assistance to support Spain and Greece in their response to the migratory challenges they face.

Spain will receive €25.6 million to improve the reception capacity for arrivals at its southern coast and in Ceuta and Melilla. A further €20 million will be awarded to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to improve reception conditions in Greece, notably on the island of Lesvos.

Only in Spain have arrival numbers risen, from more than 16,000 in all of 2015 to 17,781 in the first three months of 2018, while Greece has received 13,726. Overall, the number of persons seeking asylum from non-EU countries in the EU-28 during the first quarter of 2018 was 131,000, a number around the levels recorded in 2014, before the peaks of 1.3 million in 2015 and 2016.