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EU's doors hard to open

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EU's doors hard to open

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EU immigration ministers have been meeting in Brussels to discuss the thorny issue of a common EU immigration policy. Currently the Member State via which would-be immigrants enter the EU has to process their applications for asylum. This means that southern states such as Spain, Italy and Malta receive the lion’s share of applications.

Cecilia Malmström, the European Commissioner in charge of Home Affairs said: “There are major differences between member states and this situation is not satisfactory. We need to have a solidarity mechanism but we have to emphasize that together with solidarity comes responsibility.”

Contrary to popular opinion, entering the EU isn’t easy. Out of nearly 230,000 asylum applications made in 2009, only a quarter were successful. But processing all these demands is expensive and time-consuming. So southern countries want their EU partners to share the burden, but member states from further north are understandably unwilling to do so.