Eurostat, the European Statistics office, has published its 2009 report on asylum requests in Europe. The results should warm the heart of any proponent of tighter borders, managed immigration, and "local" asylum solutions (i.e., in or near the asylum seekers' home country):
► Of the total 229,500 asylum requests made in the EU, 166,900, or close to three-quarters (73%), were denied.
France, which calls itself a terre d'asile (land of asylum) as if it were synonymous with terre promise (promised land), received the most requests (47,600). But of the more than 35,000 requests it actually reviewed in 2009, it denied more than 30,000, while Germany refused 17,000 of the roughly 27,000 requests it received. Of the 27 EU member states, only Malta, Portugal and Slovakia granted more requests than they denied. Moreover, the 27% of requests that were not denied did not necessarily result in grants of asylum:
► While 12% of those seeking asylum did obtain it, 4% were given permission to stay in the EU on humanitarian grounds, and 11% were granted only subsidiary protection, which means they may be returned to their home country once it is deemed "safe."
The drawbridge to Fortress Europe (image credit) would therefore seem to be up, perhaps never to come back down.
This will have a disproportionate impact on women (see prior post):
► Subsidiary protection is replacing asylum in cases of gender-based discrimination, such as genital mutilation and forced marriage, whereas the conditions taken into account to determine a country's "safety" do not include indicators of gender-based discrimination.
More and more women and girls are therefore being given a temporary status that deprives them of the ability to easily integrate into and become fully autonomous, contributing citizens of their adoptive countries, where they live under threat of being returned to a country with outward signs of "safety" (end of armed conflict, democratic government) that may be unrelated to these women's personal safety.