28 March 2014

435,000 asylum applicants were registered in the EU28 last year, nearly 100,000 more asylum seekers than in 2012, according to a Eurostat report published this week. Germany, France, Sweden, Italy and the UK registered 70% of all applicants registered in the EU in 2013, the report states. Syria was the main country of citizenship of asylum applications, amounting to 12% of the total number of applicants.

When compared on the basis of population per Member State, Sweden received the most asylum seekers, with 5,700 asylum applicants per million inhabitants. Sweden is also the country hosting the largest number of asylum seekers from Syria (16,540 asylum seekers), followed by Germany (12,885 Syrian asylum seekers).

Swedish Immigration Minister has said, “We don’t think it is right and proper that so few of the 28 member states are making such a huge effort when a lot of you are just sitting by the ring side. That is not sustainable.”

When referring to current numbers of asylums seekers in Sweden, the Minister stated that “we are not talking about huge numbers yet”. “Syria will be with us for a very long period of time … It is all a question if you have the political will in individual member state governments”, concluded the Minister.

After Syria, the main countries of citizenship of asylum applicants in Europe in 2013 were Russia (41,000, or 10%), Afghanistan (26,000, or 6%), Serbia (22,000, or 5%), Pakistan (21,000, or 5%) and Kosovo (20 000, or 5%).

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 28 March 2014
You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.