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360,000 First-time Asylum seekers apply for International protection in European Union (EU), says a Report

The figure is 17 per cent higher compared with the second quarter of 2016, when 305,700 first-time applicants were registered

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Asylum
Refugees, Representational image. Wikimedia commons

Brussels, December 15, 2016: During the third quarter of this year, 358,300 first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the European Union (EU), according to a report issued by Eurostat on Thursday.

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The figure is 17 per cent higher compared with the second quarter of 2016, when 305,700 first-time applicants were registered, the statistical office of the EU said.

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From January to September 2016, more than 950,000 first-time asylum seekers were registered in the EU member states, said the report.

With 87,900 first-time applicants between July and September 2016, Syrians remained the main citizenship of people seeking international protection in the EU, ahead of Afghans (62,100 first-time applicants) and Iraqis (36,400).

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During the third quarter, the highest number of first-time applicants was registered in Germany (with 66 percent of total first time applicants), followed by Italy (10 percent), France (six percent), Greece (four percent), Britain (three percent) and Austria (two percent), according to the report. (IANS)

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British Parliament To Vote On Withdrawal Agreement Negotiated With The EU

Some lawmakers have proposed holding a second referendum like the one in 2016 that set Britain on the path toward leaving the EU.

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Britain, European Union, May
Anti-Brexit supporters hold European Union flags as they demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament on Jan. 14, 2019. VOA

Britain’s parliament votes Tuesday on the withdrawal agreement that Prime Minister Theresa May’s government negotiated with the European Union.

May canceled a previous vote in December when it was clear she did not have enough votes for the deal to pass, and since then little seems to have changed.

Both pro- and anti-Brexit lawmakers oppose the terms of the agreement. May sought to garner last-minute support Monday by asking them to examine it again while warning of the consequences if the deal fails.

The biggest point of contention has been the arrangement to have an open border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland that would keep Britain in some way tied to EU trade policies until the two sides can negotiate a new trade deal.

In a Tuesday radio interview International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said it was not acceptable for the unelected House of Lords to try to block the democratic will of the British people, who voted by a 52-48 margin in June, 2016 to leave the EU.
The Independent newspaper Tuesday night reported that May was preparing for a Brexit meeting with select cabinet ministers Wednesday at which they will try to come up with a joint position on post-withdrawal customs relations following rejection of Britain’s existing proposals. wikimedia commons

EU leaders said Monday the so-called “backstop” arrangement would only be in place as long as necessary.

Negotiators from Britain and the European Union agreed to the terms of the Brexit deal in November after difficult talks, and if the British parliament votes against the agreement there is great uncertainty about what will happen next.

Also Read: Brexit Consequences Getting Tougher for Theresa May

May would have until next Monday to put forth a new proposal. There is also the chance Britain could reach its March 29 withdrawal deadline with no terms in place to specify just how it will relate to the European Union when it is no longer a member.

Some lawmakers have proposed holding a second referendum like the one in 2016 that set Britain on the path toward leaving the EU. Others want parliament to take control of the Brexit process from May and her Cabinet. (VOA)