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EU hit by logjam of asylum applications

Published:Thursday | November 12, 2015 | 11:00 AM

EU hit by logjam of

asylum applications

VALLETTA, Malta (AP):

The European Union's (EU) asylum system is so clogged with applications that it would take a year to clear the backlog, even if migrants stopped coming to Europe immediately, EU data showed Tuesday.

The applications of more than 770,000

people seeking international protection in the EU were on hold in the month of September, according to the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). Currently, the 28 EU countries are only able to process around 60,000 cases per month.

Almost one in three people have been waiting for at least six months for their applications to be processed. More than 200,000 have been in limbo for six months, in a trend that EASO has called "worrying".

The EASO figures were made public on the eve of a major migration summit of the EU and African leaders in Malta.

The data will do little to ease concerns that people seeking refuge in Europe will have to be held longer term in reception centers. Applicants are not supposed to leave the country where they apply, but many are moving on, and applying elsewhere as they move towards preferred destinations such as Germany or Sweden.