Canary Islands Witness Significant Increase in Migration
Due to the corona pandemic, fewer people have made the dangerous journey to Europe, but an EU report warns of a further increase in immigration via the Canary Islands.
The Canary Islands are increasingly becoming a hotspot for illegal immigration to Europe. The number of unauthorized entries found on the isles has increased tenfold within a year.
According to this, 17,911 arrivals were registered in the Canary Islands by November 22nd of this year (previously 1775). One in five of the 88,550 migrants who entered the EU illegally via the southern countries this year arrived on the islands off Africa’s northwest coast. The route across the Spanish archipelago is now used twice as often as the route across the Greek islands (8846).
This year, 35,342 migrants have reached Spain this year (plus 24 percent); 132 were killed during the crossing. The latter means that the country is now the leading arrival country for illegal travelers, ahead of Italy and Greece.
Meanwhile, the long-announced major reform of the EU asylum system is experiencing a setback. In a letter from the heads of government of Spain, Italy, Greece, and Malta to Commission head Ursula von der Leyen and Chancellor Angela Merkel, the “imbalance” of the reform concept presented by Brussels in September is criticized.
The senders demand the no longer envisaged “compulsory redistribution” of the arrivals within the Union. In addition, the planned “mandatory asylum procedures at the external borders” would have to be revised. The envisaged establishment of “large closed asylum centers” was “unacceptable.”
Due to the corona pandemic, fewer people made the journey to Europe this year. According to the border protection agency Frontex, around 10,000 people were apprehended at all EU external borders, around 20 percent fewer than in the same period last year.
The number of asylum applications in the EU, at 386,000 so far, is still higher than before starting the migration crisis in 2012 (306,000).
There are several reasons for the wide gap between detected illegal entries in the EU and asylum applications. Not every illegal entry is discovered in this way. In addition, around ten percent are follow-up applications. Many applicants also apply for asylum in several EU countries, while a significant proportion concerns babies born in the EU, around a fifth in Germany. After all, many legally entered migrants seek protection, i.e., those with or without a visa requirement.
According to the EU Commission, “almost a quarter” of the applications come from people “who can enter the Schengen area without a visa.” It is mainly Latin Americans who want to stay in Spain. Spain (83,000 applications), followed by France (75,000) and Germany (74,000), have the most asylum seekers in Europe.