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EU leaders reach migration agreement as report shows asylum claims in 2017 were almost 50% down over 2016

Date of Publication: 
29 June 2018
Summary: 

European Asylum Support Office publishes annual report on the situation of asylum in the in the EU

EU leaders reach migration agreement as report shows asylum claims in 2017 were almost 50% down over 2016

29 June 2018
EIN

This morning's European Union agreement on migration at the Brussels summit comes against a backdrop of a decline in asylum claims.

According to Bloomberg, EU leaders today agreed to increase border security, set up holding centres to handle asylum seekers, and speed up the process of determining asylum claims.

You can read more about what was agreed on the European Council website here.

Earlier this month, the EU's European Asylum Support Office (EASO) released its annual report on the situation of asylum in the in the EU. The comprehensive 264-page report is here.

The report says there were 728,470 applications for international protection in the EU+ countries (which included Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland) in 2017, a decrease of 44% compared to 2016. Initial figures for the first four months of 2018 show a continuation of the trend of falling claims.

EASO notes that applications remain at a higher level than prior to the 'refugee crisis', which saw a peak of 1.4 million asylum claims in 2015.

The top ten countries of origin for asylum seekers in 2017 were Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Eritrea, Albania, Bangladesh, Guinea and Iran.

While overall numbers of asylum claims were significantly down compared to 2016, the number of applicants from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan saw considerable increases (15%, 7% and 7% respectively).

The top 5 receiving countries for asylum applicants last year were Germany, Italy, France, Greece and the UK. Germany was the main receiving country for the sixth consecutive year, but saw a very substantial 70% decrease in claims over 2016.

Of the first instance decisions issued in the EU+ in 2017, EASO says nearly 50% (462,355 out of 996,685 decisions) were positive, which is a recognition rate 14% lower than in 2016.