Asylum seekers in Germany | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa/D.Karmann
Asylum seekers in Germany | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa/D.Karmann

According to the European Union's statistics agency, more than 300,000 people were granted asylum within the bloc in 2018, a drop of nearly 40 percent compared to 2017. Almost 30 percent of beneficiaries were Syrians.

Eurostat, the EU's statistics agency, said Thursday that nearly 333,400 people were deemed eligible for international protection in 2018. Most of the beneficiaries were Syrians (29 percent), Afghans (16 percent) or Iraqis (seven percent) fleeing conflict or persecution. In addition to these, EU member states received over 24,800 resettled refugees.

In 16 member states, Syrians were the largest group granted protection status last year. Of the 96,100 Syrians granted protection status in the 28-nation EU, almost 70 percent (67,000) were recorded in Germany.

In 2018, the highest number of persons granted protection status was registered in Germany (139,600), ahead of Italy (47,900) and France (41,400). 

Protection rates differ between citizenships

The protection or recognition rate — the share of all positive decisions among the total number of decisions since 2015 — was 37 percent for first instance decisions in the EU. For final decisions on appeal, the protection rate was 38 percent.

The outcomes of decisions on asylum applications, and therefore the recognition rate, vary between countries of citizenship of asylum applicants. Among the 20 main citizenships of asylum applicants on which decisions were taken at first instance in 2018, recognition rates in the EU ranged from a very low protection rate of around five percent for citizens of Georgia to the highest rates for Syrians (88 percent) and Eritreans (83 percent, see tweet above). 

In 2015, well over one million migrants entered the EU in 2015, a relatively small number compared to arrivals in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.

However, the influx caused a political crisis and immigration became a hot-button topic and even though arrivals have dropped again sharply,  EU countries remain deeply divided over the best approach to migration and asylum policy. 

Germany saw a significant increase in migrant arrivals, with almost 746,000 people seeking asylum in 2016. Numbers have since declined again, with about 186,000 asylum requests in 2018.

According to a study published on Thursday, Germans are increasingly hostile toward asylum seekers, whereas prejudices toward homeless or gay people have declined.

With material from AP


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