Key EU Asylum Figures and People Given Refugee Status

A boy who fled the unrest in Tunisia is helped by the Italian police after arriving at the southern Italian island of Lampedusa March 24, 2011. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Twelve years after the European Union (EU) committed itself to establishing a common asylum system, refugees and asylum seekers still face huge differences in member states’ treatment of them, a report said.

Access to legal aid, the right to appeal and the use of detention all varied widely from state to state, the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) said in its study of conditions for asylum seekers in 14 European countries.

Here are some key figures on asylum from the report:

* The number of people who sought asylum in the European Union rose by 11 percent in 2012 to 335,380

* The EU member states that received the biggest number of asylum applications in 2012 were (in descending order):

Germany (77,650)

France (61,455)

Sweden (43,945)

Belgium (28,285)

Britain (28,260)

* In 2012, most asylum seekers in the EU came from:

Afghanistan (28,010 applicants)

Russia (24,280)

Syria (24,110 – an increase of 206 percent from 2011)

Pakistan (19,695)

Serbia (19,065)

* Children represented 28 percent of the total number of applicants for asylum in the EU in 2012. About one in five of them were younger than 14.

* The overall rate at which EU member states granted refugee status or other types of protection in the first instance to asylum seekers was 28.2 percent.

The lowest rates were in Greece with 0.9 percent, Luxembourg 2.5 percent and Cyprus 7.9 percent.

In the middle were countries like Sweden with a rate of 39.3 percent, Britain with 35.4 percent, Netherlands with 41.1 percent.

At the high end were Italy with 61.7 percent and Malta with 90.1 percent.

* The figures show that of the five EU member states that received the highest number of asylum applications in 2012, France and Belgium were below average in terms of the rate at which they recognised refugees or granted asylum seekers some kind of protection (14.4 percent and 22.6 percent respectively)

Germany had a rate that was one percentage point above the EU average (29.2 percent), while in Britain it was 35.4 percent and in Sweden 39.3 percent.

– Thomson Reuters Foundation