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Various European leaders often claim that their countries support genuine refugees and criticize Central/Southern European countries for having a hostile attitude towards them. Some even claim that EU members which refuse to take in their fair share of refugees should be penalized by Brussels.

However assuming that the EU does in fact want to help out people in need by allowing them to migrate to Europe, why aren't there refugee processing centers outside the EU borders? Wouldn't it allow people to lodge their asylum applications without risking a lengthy journey to the European continent?

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    Do you have any evidence that the refugee system doesn't resettle people in the EU? I was under the impression that it does, but that the numbers are small and the waits are long, leading many to bypass the refugee route (applying abroad for resettlement) in favor of the asylum route (entry into the country by other means followed by an application to stay). – phoog May 8 '17 at 14:42
  • @phoog Do any processing centers exist outside the EU borders? Even if they do, they're obviously working a couple of magnitudes slower than the illicit overland route. – JonathanReez May 8 '17 at 14:44
  • UNHCR refers refugees to countries for resettlement. As far as I know all of their processing centers are outside EU borders, and I believe that the countries to which they refer refugees for resettlement include EU countries. – phoog May 8 '17 at 14:50
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There are, it's called “resettlement” and the process is administered by the UNHCR, directly in the refugee camps where most refugees are. In 2014, Germany, Sweden, and Norway accepted around 2000 resettlement applications each, Finland, the UK, and France around 1000. There is also a European programme to push member states to accept more and the numbers have been increasing in 2015 and 2016.

The problem is that the number of people stuck in refugee camps is so large that even increasing the number of available spots by an order of magnitude wouldn't even come close to solving the problem (there are close to 4 million Syrian refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey). Furthermore, in at least one famous case, people who died trying to reach Europe had been refused resettlement before.

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