More than 660,000 international protection requests were submitted to the EU member States, Norway and Sweden in 2014. That’s an increase of 43%, and the highest figure since 2008, when Europe-wide data started being collected. This information appeared in the annual report by the European Bureau for Asylum Assistance (BEAA), which was published on Tuesday. Most of the requests are from Syrians, Eritreans and the West Balkans. More than 128,000 requests came from Syria last year, and 42,745 were from Afghanistan. That’s an increase of 53% compared to 2013. The biggest increase is from the Ukraine, with 14,000 requests: thirteen times more than the year before.
The Bureau has noticed that several countries have increased access to the job market in their country to deal with the situation. Some have decided to reform their asylum procedures, the way they attribute tasks and the way they take on extra staff.
The number of requests is continuing to go up in 2015, the BEAA has said. For the first five months, the increase was 68% on an annual basis. The country with the most requests was Kosovo, followed by Syria and Afghanistan. The increase in the number of non-accompanied minors is another trend the Bureau are keeping an eye on. It is also happening in Belgium, according to the first figures released by the General Commissioner for Refugees and Stateless persons (CGRA).
Sarah Johansson (Source: Belga)