It was billed as the moment when Europe finally took responsibility for the influx of desperate refugees arriving on her shores.
In late September, European leaders agreed on a plan to relocate 160,000 migrants from the countries they’re flooding into — mainly Greece and Italy.
Six weeks later, the scheme has only just gotten off the ground, according to new statistics released by the European Commission.
EU ministers plan to transfer 160,000 asylum-seekers from Greece and Italy to other EU member states over the course of two years.
But progress has been slow, and the numbers don’t add up yet. Only 1,418 places (out of the needed 160,000) have been made available in EU states for these people to be transferred to — and just 116 have been moved as of November 4, according to the European Commission.
Tove Ernst, a migration spokeswoman for the European Commission, says it took time to put the mechanisms in place on the ground to facilitate relocation.
“The system is now up and running — the first flight from Greece [has left] and there were already several flights from Italy — and we’re hoping that progress on the ground and progress with member states will be made swiftly.
More arrived by sea last month than in all of 2014
More migrants fled to Europe in October than in all of last year, exacerbating an already dire situation for both refugees and host countries.
More than 218,000 migrants fled across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in October, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) said. That’s more than the 216,000 who crossed into Europe in 2014.
More than 750,000 migrants have arrived in Europe by sea in 2015, according to the UNHCR.
More than half are Syrian, and most are men
Of that 750,000 figure, more than half — 52% — are Syrian, and another quarter are from Afghanistan and Iraq.
More than two-thirds are men, and 20% are children. Nearly 3,500 have died or gone missing during the journey this year.The percentage of asylum requests accepted is up
Roughly 240,000 asylum requests were processed by the EU in the first six months of this year — 50% more than were processed in the first half of 2014, according to Eurostat figures.
And since the start of the Syrian uprising, the acceptance rate for people applying for asylum in the EU has steadily increased from around 25% in the second quarter of 2011 to roughly 46% in the second quarter of 2015.