The number of petitions from refugees for the provision of protection in EU member states has been decreasing for the third year in a row, while in 2018 a decrease in positive responses from the authorities was also recorded, the report of the European Asylum Office (EASO) said.
“Asylum applications in the EU+ decreased for the third consecutive year in 2018, returning to pre-crisis levels. Despite an increase in applications in the first five months of 2019, it remains too early to be indicative of a significant long-term shift in recent trends,” the report said. “The increase in early 2019 should be taken within the context of the dramatic fall in applications over the past three years, most notably the return to 2014 levels last year. There is no indication at this stage that the recent moderate increase in applications constitute a significant shift in overall trends as monthly fluctuations are normal.”
The largest number of asylum applications in 2018 came from citizens of Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq (together they accounted for more than a quarter of all applicants, 27%). The top 10 also includes Pakistan, Nigeria, Iran, Turkey (4% each), Venezuela, Albania and Georgia (3% each).
“The total EU+ recognition rate in first instance in 2018 was 39%, decreasing by 7 percentage points over the previous year. Although fewer positive decisions were issued overall, a higher proportion of positive decisions granted refugee status (55% of positive decisions). With regard to receiving countries, in 2018, most applications for asylum were lodged in Germany, France, Greece, Italy, and Spain. Together, these five countries accounted for almost three quarters of all applications lodged in the EU+,” the report added.
Syria (13%), Afghanistan and Iraq (7% each) were the three main countries of origin of applicants in the EU+ in 2018.