Due to the increasing number of asylum seekers from countries for which the visa-free regime with the European Union, the European Commission has threatened to introduce countermeasures. If the process continues, the EU may suspend visa-free travel for individual countries, said the EU Commissioner for migration and internal Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos in an interview with the group Funke, released on Monday, June 17.

According to Avramopoulos, countermeasures can affect the countries of the Western Balkans and Latin America. “Our message to the States whose citizens have the right to enter the EU without visas is clear: it is your responsibility to protect this privilege,” the European Commissioner stressed. He expressed the hope that such extreme measures could still be avoided.

Fewer and fewer illegal immigrants seeking asylum in the EU

Meanwhile, the number of illegal asylum seekers in the EU as a whole fell to the level of 2014, before the migration crisis. In the first months of 2019, it continued to fall and reached 32,400 people, decreasing by 31 percent compared to the same period of the previous year.

According to the European Bureau of migration support (EASO), in the first four months of this year, almost every fourth application for asylum in the EU was filed by a citizen of one of the countries that have concluded a visa-free agreement with the EU.

For example, the number of asylum seekers from Venezuela in comparison with the same period of 2018 increased by 121% and reached 14,257 people, from Colombia — by 56% (8097 people), from Albania — by 30% (7138 people). Only a minority of such applicants receive a positive response.

Earlier, on June 10, it was reported that the total number of asylum seekers in the EU has increased significantly. From January to the end of April, about 206500 people applied for asylum in the EU for the first time, which is 15% more than in the same period last year.