The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) has published its second quarterly report for 2013. It shows that the total number of asylum applicants in the EU, Norway and Switzerland rose by 18% (112,030) compared to the first quarter of 2013 and highlights that Germany, France and Hungary received 46% of the total applications lodged in the EU, Norway and Switzerland in the second quarter.
According to EASO, the number of applications lodged in Hungary increased by 306%. Other popular destination countries were Malta (188% increase) and Poland (148% increase). Germany, facing a comparatively lower increase in numbers of applicants during the second quarter (25%) continues to remain one of the biggest asylum receiving countries in the EU (a total of 26,425 applicants).
EASO highlighted in its report that the number of new applications lodged by Russians, most of which are of Chechen origin, within the EU, Switzerland and Norway rose in the second quarter of 2013 to a total of 15,315 (compared to a total of 6,910 new applicants). According to EASO “the high increase could have been caused by rumours spreading in Chechnya about Germany granting asylum to Russians of Chechen origin. Because of this, it is more likely that, due to the socio-economic condition of the region, the new flow of applicants from the Caucasus is instead attracted by the benefits they believe are available in some EU+ countries when applying for asylum”. Human Rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina, Chair of the Memorial sister organisation Committee for Civic Assistance, argued that Chechens flee to Germany to escape the totalitarian regime in Chechnya. According to Gannushkina, the main reason people flee is that people are afraid for their lives: “Chechnya is dominated by an all-consuming fear”, she said.
Eurostat statics show that the five largest groups of total asylum applicants during the second quarter of 2013 were Russians (17,030 applicants), followed by Syrians (8,715 applicants), Kosovars (8,385 applicants), Afghans (6,515 applicants) and Pakistanis (6,065 applicants).