Tuesday

22nd Aug 2017

Syrians and Russians top asylum demands to EU

Syrians fleeing war and Russians topped the list of those asking for asylum in the EU last year.

Figures released on Monday (24 March) from the EU statistical office, Eurostat, reveal Syrians top the list of asylum demands with 50,000 applications, followed by 41,000 Russians and 26,000 Afghans.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Around 90 percent of the asylum demands last year were made for the first time (Photo: FredomHouse)

The EU received a total of 435,000 asylum applications last year, 100,000 more compared to 2012. Most applications were issued for the first time.

Eurostat compared the numbers to those in 2008, noting that Syrian and Russian applications have increased significantly in the intervening years.

Around 5,000 Syrians asked for asylum in 2008, ten times fewer than in 2013. Russian applications have almost doubled since 2008.

The increase puts additional strain on the asylum systems of member states such as Bulgaria and Greece, which complain that they need more help from other countries.

EU asylum rules – the so-called Dublin regulation – require the countries where asylum seekers first enter the Union to take care of processing applications.

But EU home affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom in a speech in Sofia yesterday (24 March) said there is a misperception that the Dublin system sees most asylum applicants in the periphery of the EU.

"In fact, 70 percent of asylum cases are handled by five member states – Germany, France, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Belgium – none of which is at the external border of the EU," she noted.

Bulgaria's shared border with Turkey makes it an entry point for many Syrian refugees.

Some 8,000 Syrians arrived in Bulgaria last year and the country has run into criticism by pro-migrant rights groups for its lack of infrastructure to provide adequate care.

The UN refugee agency also intervened in early 2013, asking member states to suspend all transfers to Bulgaria because of its poor reception conditions and treatment of Syrian refugees.

Bulgaria has since decided to erect a 30km razor wire fence on the Turkish border between the towns of Lesovo and Kraynovo to prevent people from entering in the first place.

EU asylum system is 'dysfunctional'

With Sweden and Germany taking in two-thirds of all of Europe's Syrian refugees, the EU asylum system is "very dysfunctional" the UN has said.

Opinion

Syria refugees: Nowhere to go

EU pledge to take just 45,000 Syrian refugees, out of 4 million, sends bad signal to frontline states Lebanon and Jordan.

News in Brief

  1. Austria has begun checks at Italian border
  2. Slovenian PM: Brexit talks will take longer than expected
  3. Merkel backs diesel while report warns of economic harm
  4. UK to publish new Brexit papers this week
  5. Macedonia sacks top prosecutor over wiretap scandal
  6. ECB concerned stronger euro could derail economic recovery
  7. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  8. European Union returns to 2 percent growth

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference