Friday

9th Dec 2016

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).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"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.

News in Brief

  1. Council of Europe critical of Turkey emergency laws
  2. Italian opposition presses for anti-euro referendum
  3. Danish MP wants warning shots fired to deter migrants
  4. Defected Turkish officers to remain in Greece
  5. Most child asylum seekers are adults, says Denmark
  6. No school for children of 'illegal' migrants, says Le Pen
  7. Ombudsman slams EU Commission on tobacco lobbying
  8. McDonald's moves fiscal HQ to UK following tax probe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Use Bioenergy Coming From Forests in a Sustainable Way?
  2. Counter BalanceReport Reveals Corrupt but Legal Practices in Development Finance
  3. Swedish EnterprisesMEPs and Business Representatives Debated on the Future of the EU at the Winter Mingle
  4. ACCASets Out Fifty Key Factors in the Public Sector Accountants Need to Prepare for
  5. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  6. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  7. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  9. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  10. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  11. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  12. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First