In connection with the increasing number of asylum seekers from countries for which a visa-free regime with the EU operates, the European Commission has threatened to introduce countermeasures. If the process continues, the EU may suspend visa-free travel for individual countries, EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos said in an interview with the newspapers of the Funke group, released on Monday.
According to Avramopoulos, countermeasures can affect the countries of the Western Balkans and Latin America, DW reported.
Meanwhile, the number of illegal asylum seekers in the EU as a whole dropped to the level of 2014 before the onset of the migration crisis. In the first months of 2019, it continued to fall and reached 32,400 people, a decrease of 31 percent compared with the same period of the previous year.
According to the European Migration Support Bureau (EASO), in the first four months of this year, almost every fourth application for asylum in the EU was submitted by a citizen of one of the countries that entered into a visa-free regime agreement with the EU.
For example, the number of asylum seekers from Venezuela compared to the same period of 2018 increased by 121% and reached 14,257 people, from Colombia - by 156% (8097 people), from Albania - by 30% (7138 people). Only a minority of such applicants receive a positive response.
The total number of asylum seekers in the EU has increased significantly. From January to the end of April, about 206,000 500 people first applied for asylum in the EU, which is 15% more than in the same period last year.