It is not possible to apply for asylum in two different EU countries | Credit: Picture-alliance/dpa
It is not possible to apply for asylum in two different EU countries | Credit: Picture-alliance/dpa

The number of people granted asylum in Europe in 2019 fell slightly compared with the previous year. The latest report by the European statistics office, Eurostat, shows the figure was down 6% overall.

Eurostat's latest report, published on April 27, says almost 300,000 people were granted asylum status within the EU in 2019. 27% of those granted asylum were Syrian. However, the overall numbers were 6% down on 2018’s figures, when the EU granted 316,200 people asylum.

48% of all asylum cases were granted refugee status, 28% received subsidiary protection and 25% humanitarian protection.

Syrians were the largest group of beneficiaries of asylum

Syrians remain the largest group of beneficiaries of protection status, according to the statistics. A total of 78,600 Syrians received protection status, 71% of those in Germany. The next largest group of people to be granted asylum in the EU were Afghans, 41% of those in Germany, followed by Venezuelans. In total, 37,500 Venezuelans were granted asylum in the EU in 2019, compared with just 1,000 in 2018. Most of the Venezuelans were granted protection in Spain; 94% of the EU total.

7% of those granted asylum in the EU were from Iraq, 3% from Turkey, Eritrea, Nigeria, Iran and Somalia respectively and 2% from Pakistan. 39% of positive decisions were made in Germany. France accounted for 14% of the positive decisions, Spain for 13% and Italy for 10%. Between them, “these four member states counted over three quarters of all positive decisions issued in the EU,” Eurostat says.

Asylum recognition differs in each country

Recognition rates of asylum differ from country to country and are dependent on the nationality of the asylum seeker. For instance, according to the report, citizens of Georgia can expect a 4% recognition rate resulting in a positive decision, whereas as Venezuelans in 2019 could expect a 96% positive recognition rate, Syrians 85% and Eritreans 81%.

In fact, among the EU countries, Luxembourg has the highest positive recognition rate at 57%, but it had far fewer applicants with just 1,180. Austria in contrast also had a positive recognition rate of above 50% and it registered 13,890 first instance decisions made. This rate was bettered in the UK and Greece which both registered 53% positive recognition rate and had slightly more than double the number of first time applicants at 28,460 in the UK and 32,700 in Greece.

End of 2019 applications rise

Germany made 154,175 first instance decisions. Its positive recognition rate was around 42%.

An earlier report from Eurostat at the beginning of April showed that in the final quarter of 2019, asylum applications were up by 22% on the previous quarter in the same year and up by 11% compared with the same period in 2018. In the final quarter of 2019, the EU registered 42% positive decisions on asylum.

At the end of 2019, the highest number of first time applicants was registered in Spain, followed by Germany, France and then Greece.


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