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Immigration: EU, sharp drop in protection requests from 1,800,000 to 500,000. Only 30,000 relocated

There has been a sharp drop in the number of international protection applications addressed to countries of the European Union as a result of the deterrents enforced by the agreements between the EU and Turkey, the closure of the Balkan route, and the construction of the wall at the border with Serbia. In 2015, over 1,800,000 people arrived seeking protection in Europe as opposed to 551.371 in 2016. But the total number of people relocated within the EU is just 30,000, that is, far fewer than the 160,000 people the EU had agreed to relocate in 2015. Some countries, including Hungary and Slovakia, refuse to accept them despite a ruling by the European Court of Justice. This is what emerges from the 2017 Report on International Protection in Italy. The study was compiled by ANCI, Caritas italiana, Cittalia, Migrantes Foundation, and the Central Service of SPRAR in collaboration with the UNHCR, and was presented in Rome today. The most used and risky route is the Central Mediterranean route: 5,000 people died in the Mediterranean in 2016, of whom 4,500 along this route. Around 181,459 people travelled this route in 2016, especially Nigerians (37,554), Eritreans (20,721) and Guineans (13,550), and 25,846 children. During 2016, the Eastern Mediterranean route has been the second route of entry into Europe. The numbers in 2016 have fallen sharply as a result of the Agreement between the EU and Turkey signed in March. In 2016, 182.277 migrants have used this route, the majority of them in the first quarter of the year: mainly Syrians (84,585), Afghanis (43,120) and Iraqis (27,978). In 2017, between January and June, only 13,060 illegal migrants were recorded, mainly Syrians (4,600), Pakistanis (1,478), and Iraqis (516). Even along the Balkan route, the land route used to cross into other European countries through Greece, there has been a sharp drop in the number of irregular migrants, from over 700,000 in 2015 to just over 130,261 in 2016. But the total number of those fleeing war, hunger and persecution continues to rise: 65.6 million worldwide by the end of 2016, that is, 300,000 more than in 2015. Of these, 2.8 million are asylum seekers. And 55% of them come from Syria, Afghanistan and Sudan, and would like to seek refuge in Germany or in the United States, but Turkey is the country in which they often end up.

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