Wednesday

29th Jun 2022

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • 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.

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.

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

Romania — latest EU hotspot in backlash against LGBT rights

Romania isn't the only country portraying lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people as a threat to children. From Poland and Hungary in EU, to reactionary movements around the world are prohibiting portrayals of LGBT people and families in schools.

News in Brief

  1. Bulgaria expels 70 alleged Russian spies
  2. EU Commission told to improve CAP data analytics
  3. Scotland pushes for second independence vote in 2023
  4. Climate groups: G7 leaders 'backsliding' on climate
  5. Ukraine diplomat urges German MEPs to reject EU taxonomy
  6. EU asylum requests were climbing before Ukraine war
  7. Public sector journalists protest Macron tax plan
  8. EU engine ban splits Germany's coalition

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  2. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  4. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBHow price increases affect construction workers
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic think tank examines influence of tech giants

Latest News

  1. EU presidency still looking for asylum relocation pledges
  2. Finland and Sweden to join Nato, as Erdoğan drops veto
  3. The euro — who's next?
  4. One rubicon after another
  5. Green crime-fighting boss urgently required, key MEP says
  6. G7 leaders want price cap on Russian oil
  7. Western public has 'moral' duty to Ukraine, Nato chief says
  8. Kiwis are my slavery — the hellish life of a Sikh labourer in Italy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us