- BRUSSELS - The EU saw the highest number of asylum seekers come from Russia at the beginning of this year with Syrians following closely behind. Recently-released Eurostat figures for the first three months of 2013 saw 8,435 Russians, half of them aged under 18, seek asylum in the EU while 8,395 people from Syria - in the throes of civil war - also came to EU doors.
- Parlementair Documentatie Centrum
Next on the list in terms of numbers were Afghans (5,880), Pakistanis (4,310) and Somalians (3,430). In comparison to the same period last year, the biggest increase in numbers was represented by Syrians – 6,000 more than between January and March 2012 – and Russians, with 4000 more.
The biggest relative increase between the two years were for Malians seeking asylum. This year saw a 400 percent increase in refugees from the Africa country, which has been threatened by Jihadist fighters and saw French military intervention in Spring.
Sweden saw the highest number of asylum applications – 9,720 – in relation to its population size while Germany, the EU’s most populous member state, accounted for almost a quarter of all asylum applications in the EU at the beginning of this year. Germany also saw the biggest increase – 6000 – in asylum seekers compared to last year and has over 80,000 pending applications. Greece, often in the news for its over-run and badly kept asylum centres, follows with just under 40,000 pending applications and then Belgium with around 28,000.
France had the highest rejection rate at 84 percent, followed by Germany (65%) and Sweden (52%). Asylum seekers from Serbia were the most likely to be rejected (97%) while 25 percent of Syrians were given the green light. Overall the number of asylum seekers was up at the beginning of this year. Between January and March there were 85,000 applications, 15,000 more than in the first quarter in 2012.