In less than two months, Palestinians shift migration dynamics to Europe

In less than two months, Palestinians shift migration dynamics to Europe

Shafaq News/ On Wednesday, data released by the European Union Agency for Asylum revealed a surge of 18% in asylum applications within the bloc, reaching 1.14 million in 2023, marking the highest level since the migrant crisis of 2015-2016, with Palestinians emerging as the most sought-after asylum seekers following the events in Gaza, "at an unprecedented level."

The new data will likely fuel a heated debate on migration ahead of several local and national elections and the European Parliament elections in June.

According to the agency, Syrians and Afghans constituted the largest groups applying for asylum. In a new trend, Turks became the third-largest group of applicants, increasing their applications by 82% compared to the previous year.

The agency noted that the number of Palestinians applying for asylum reached an unprecedented level of 11,600 following the Israeli occupation war against Gaza, highlighting the difficulty in accurately registering their numbers due to the majority of EU member states not recognizing Palestine as a state.

In this regard, the European Parliament and EU member states reached a "historic agreement" on a sweeping reform of Europe's migration and asylum system, according to AFP, citing Vice-President of the Commission Margaritis Schinas.

European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson hailed what she described as a "historic moment." The Spanish presidency of the EU Council tweeted that a "political agreement on the five files of the new migration and asylum package" had been reached.

According to AFP, presented by the European Commission in September 2020, this package is a renewed attempt to reshape European regulations after a previous attempt failed in 2016 in the aftermath of the refugee crisis.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that after overnight talks, representatives from the European Parliament and EU member state governments agreed on a set of laws for the Union, collectively called the "New Pact on Migration and Asylum," which is expected to come into effect next year.

These laws cover screening irregular migrants upon their arrival in the EU, procedures for handling asylum requests, rules for determining which EU country is responsible for processing the requests, and crisis management methods.

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