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NEW EU figures on asylum have spectacularly exploded the lies perpetuated by the Tories and the right-wing media that Britain is being besieged by “swarms” of refugees.
Statistics published yesterday by the EU data agency Eurostat show that Britain received just one in 30 of the total number of the asylum claims made by new applicants in EU countries between April and June.
A total of 7,470 people making their first application and their dependents sought refuge in this country — a mere 3.5 per cent of the total of 213,200 registered across the EU.
This equates to Britain receiving 115 applicants for every million residents, ranking it 17th in the EU.
By contrast, Germany received 80,935 — or more than one in three (38 per cent) of the total number of claims during the same period, followed by Hungary with 32,675, or 15 per cent, and Austria, with 17,395.
Prime Minister David Cameron belatedly announced a U-turn on the government’s rabidly anti-refugee stance by announcing plans to take 20,000 people from camps on the Syrian border earlier this month, but over five years.
The turnaround was sparked by widespread public outrage triggered by the publication of photographs of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who drowned with his mother and brother trying to cross from Turkey to Greece by boat.
Migrants’ Rights Network director Don Flynn told the Star that the figures showed that despite the large increase in those applying for asylum in the EU, in the case of Britain the claims of being overwhelmed were simply not true.
“Britain is not doing enough,” he said. “It is taking full advantage of the relative geographic advantages of it being more difficult for migrants and refugees to get to.
“We should not be smugly falling back on that fact. Britain should be pulling its weight.”
Britain still retains opt-out, negotiated by Tony Blair in 1997, from all automatic EU decisions on asylum and immigration.
This means, Mr Flynn says, that its default status has been to refuse any such proposals unless it is profitable to Britain.
The Refugee Council’s Lisa Doyle added: “These figures clearly demonstrate Britain must do more to help refugees arriving in Europe.”
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