ER Editor: Just to make the issue clear, under the original formulation of the Dublin regulation, migrants coming into Europe are the responsibility, technically, of the first European country they enter when it comes to making asylum claims. These countries are typically Greece, Italy, Spain, Hungary, etc. By the time migrants get to France (or another destination country within Europe), they may be omitted from the immigration figures because they are not considered fresh migrants, so to speak, or actual migrants. So the number of migrants officially demanding asylum can appear to be much lower than it really is since they are no longer classified in the same way. Such appears to be the case in France, which is convenient for authorities who wish to downplay large migrant statistics to a disapproving population responsible for paying for them.
France has been hiding real immigration figures for several years
Eurostat recently asked France to review its fake figures for asylum seekers. And according to the Interior Ministry at Place Beauvau, their numbers were up 7.3 percent in 2019.
PARIS – The French administration has been caught red-handed: They will have admit to the real figures of immigration because, according to information from CheckNews (ER: paywall after the first couple of paragraphs), Eurostat recently contacted the French authorities to inform them that, for several years, they had been providing the European statistical office with distorted data on the number of people filing a request for asylum in France.
The breach relates to the case of “dublinés”, that is to say applicants under the Dublin procedure, i.e. those seeking asylum in a European country after already having entered the EU through another. Each month, there are thousands of people who are included in the total number of asylum applications lodged in France.
“It is contrary to Eurostat definitions. The directives explicitly ask the countries to count the candidates subjected to the Dublin procedure”, the press service of the European entity told CheckNews. It added: “We had been informed of this problem also in the past, in 2009. However, we did not know that this question still arises in France today.” Clearly, the French administration has known about the problem for ten years, but has still not solved it.
The latter, however, denied having attempted to downplay these figures. “France had made the choice several years ago to transmit OFPRA data [which do not include ‘dubliné’, FWM editor’s note] because the elements of data collection at the prefecture of the registration of requests did not allow us to respond to all of Eurostat’s criteria,” citing data collection at the DGEF, the Directorate General for Foreigners in France.
For CheckNews, a specialist confirmed “the deplorable state of the French statistical apparatus ” but also noted that the practice “also reflects the French vision according to which the ‘dublines’ are not asylum seekers”.
Could France face sanctions for this? Not according to Eurostat, obviously not worried that the omission has been going on since 2009.
“France told us that it was working on the issue and that it would be able to correct this problem by the middle of the year in progress. (…) Because France has declared that it would correct the data, it is not necessary to impose sanctions,“ explained the European statistical office, adding that “it is only if France does not respect the timetable indicated that it will be subject to the standard compliance monitoring exercise, which is the standard procedure for ensuring compliance with legal requirements”.
In addition, on Tuesday, the Interior Ministry revealed that the number of asylum applications lodged in France in 2019 amounted to 132,614, an increase of 7.3 percent.
Beauvau additionally mentions an “anomaly” concerning Georgian and Albanian migrants, third and fourth in terms of asylum requests when their countries of origin are considered to be “safe”.
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