Tuesday

25th Sep 2018

Asylum requests plummet across Europe

  • Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans still make up the largest group of first time asylum applicants in the EU (Photo: UNICEF)

Some 287,000 people made their first application for asylum in the EU in the first quarter of this year, a fall of 33 percent from the last quarter of 2015, Eurostat figures show.

Syrians continue to be the most common nationality asking for protection, making up a third of all requests, the EU's statistical office said on Thursday (16 June).

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Iraqis and Afghans remained the second and third largest groups, with around 35,000 applications each. The three nationalities account for 60 percent of all first-time applicants.

The highest number of applications were still filed in Germany, which has taken in over a million migrants since last summer.

Almost 175,000 first-time applicants were registered there, 61 percent of all the first-time applicants in the EU.

Italy received 22,300 requests, followed by France with 18,000 claims.

Austria registered 13,900 applications and the UK received 10,100 claims.

The number of first-time applicants dropped sharply in the Nordic countries. Sweden, which introduced border checks with neighbouring Denmark, experienced a 91 percent drop.

Applications filed in Finland fell by 85 percent, in Denmark they were down by 74 percent.

In the Netherlands registered asylum requests dropped by 72 percent, while in Belgium they fell by 70 percent.

Austria, which also introduced increased border checks, received 55 percent fewer requests, according to Eurostat figures.

The lowest number of asylum applications was in Estonia, where just five Russians requested protection.

Austria curtails asylum rights

Austria approves a law that will allow it to reject many asylum seekers, including those from war-torn countries, in a move decried by rights groups.

EU plans tougher asylum rules

Asylum seekers' applications to be rejected if they move around within the EU, under new asylum rules proposed by the EU Commission.

Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate

Issues of sovereignty remain entrenched following a proposal by the European Commission to expand the EU's border and coast guard, also known as Frontex, to 10,000. But EU leaders maintain a "basic consensus" of support had been reached.

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