Despite reports of asylum applications “dropping off drastically” in the European Union throughout 2017, statistics published by national authorities seem to reveal a more complex picture across the continent.
Germany witnessed a dramatic decrease in applications registered last year (222,683) compared to the year before (745,545). It should be recalled that the majority of people lodging applications in 2016 had in fact arrived in 2015. Nevertheless, Germany still spearheads Europe’s reception of people seeking protection, far ahead of countries such as Italy and France.
Significant reduction has been witnessed in 2017 compared to 2016 in Hungary (29,423 to 3,397) and Bulgaria (19,418 to 3,700). On the other hand, more claims were received in Italy (123.482 to 130,180), France (85,244 to 100,412), Belgium (18,710 to 19,688), Norway (3,460 to 3,546) and Slovenia (1,308 to 1,476).
Substantial drops in overall recognition rates were marked in Germany (71.4 to 53%) and Sweden (77.4% to 46.9%) in the course of 2017, even though the main nationalities of persons seeking asylum in those countries have remained the same. Conversely, countries including Belgium (59.5 to 64.6%), Italy (39.4 to 40%), Hungary (8.5 to 29.7%) and Poland (16.6 to 19.5%) had higher recognition rates in 2017 compared to 2016.
Asylum seekers from Afghanistan continue to face an ‘asylum lottery’ as their chances of obtaining a form of protection (Recognition Rates) ranged from 83.1% in France to 58% in Belgium, 47% in Germany and 30% in Hungary. Decision-making in countries such as Bulgaria, where Afghan claims are treated as “manifestly unfounded” and face “strikingly low” recognition rates, has attracted concern from the European Commission, as per a letter to the Bulgarian authorities.
For further information:
- ECRE, Making asylum numbers count: ECRE’s analysis of gaps and needs for reform in data collection on the CEAS, January 2018
- AIDA, Disclaimer on asylum statistics
* A longer version of this article was first published at AIDA