Sunday

23rd Sep 2018

EU asylum applications double post-Soviet peak

  • Hungary had the highest number of asylum applicants as a proportion of its population. (Photo: Michael Gubi)

The EU registered double the number of asylum seekers last year than its previous peak figure, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Some 1.3 million people applied for asylum last year in the 28 EU states along with Norway and Switzerland, US-based Pew Research centre said in a report out on Tuesday (2 August).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"Since 1985, Europe received about 11.6 million asylum applications – meaning that last year’s 1.3 million amounted to about one-tenth of all applications received during the past 30 years by current EU countries, Norway and Switzerland," notes the report.

The 1.3 million figure also almost doubled the applications registered in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1992, when roughly 700,000 applied.

Roughly four-in-ten asylum seekers in Europe in 2015 were young men between 18 and 34 years old. Those coming from The Gambia, Pakistan and Bangladesh were almost exclusively male.

Most asylum seekers were trying to reach preferred destinations such as Germany and Sweden.

Sweden, for instance, received more applications than both France and the UK combined.

But Germany remained the top destination overall with 442,000 applications lodged last year.

Hungary (174,000) and Sweden (156,000) were next most popular, and Hungary also had the highest number of applicants as a proportion of its population.

The country registered 1,770 applications for every 100,000 residents.

Hungary's right-wing government launched an anti-immigration campaign in the lead up to an October referendum that will ask citizens to reject or approve the EU's scheme to distribute asylum seekers.

Prime minister Viktor Orban recently described people fleeing war and persecution to seek protection in the EU as "a poison”.

Meanwhile, dozens of migrants waiting at Serbia's border with Hungary launched a hunger strike around the same time Orban made the comments.

The strike, which involved mostly Afghans and Pakistanis, has since reportedly ended with nobody allowed to enter Hungary.

Sweden received 1,600 applicants out of 100,000 residents, Germany 540, France averaged 160, and the UK just 60.

The EU average, including Norway and Switzerland, is around 250 applications per 100,000 residents.

The vast majority of Syrians applied for asylum in just five EU states: Germany, Hungary, Sweden, Austria and the Netherlands.

After Syria, the largest source countries for asylum inflows in the EU are Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Albania and Nigeria.

Hungary steps up campaign on migration referendum

Hungary's government has unveiled six billboards linking the migration crisis to terrorism and crime in an effort to win backing for its referendum on the EU's migration policy.

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.

EU promotes 'Egypt model' to reduce migrant numbers

EU council president Donald Tusk wants to discuss deepening relations with authoritarian Egypt, as a model of migrant reduction, with EU heads of state and government at a meeting in Salzburg, Austria on Wednesday.

Analysis

EU to shore up borders, returns and migrant detentions

The European Commission wants more border controls, detentions and returns for rejected asylum seekers. The harsh tone is part of a broader anti-migrant mood. "We are treated like rats," one asylum seeker stuck on a Greek island told this website.

Visual Data

Europeans also seek EU asylum

Every year, almost 100,000 Europeans seek asylum in EU countries. The number of applications continues to grow, but the issue remains on the margins of political debate.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  2. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  3. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  4. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  5. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says
  6. Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU
  7. Libya keeps coast guards rejected by the EU
  8. EU divisions on menu at Salzburg dinner

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us