For the seventh time in a row, more people in Germany searched for the asylum than in any other European country. Despite a decline of 17 percent last year, around 184,000 people applied for international protection in the Germany, as evidenced by the annual report of the EU asylum authority European Asylum Support Office EASO released on Monday.
The figures also take into account applications from people who have previously applied for the asylum.
In total, 664,480 people applied for asylum last year in the 28 EU Member States with Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein (situated between Austria and Switzerland).
This was ten percent less than in 2017, a decline for the third year in a row. In 2015, there were almost 1.4 million asylum applications.
According to EASO, the numbers last year were back to the levels reached before the refugee movement.
Worldwide, the number of refugees and displaced persons, according to the UNHCR was the highest ever in the almost 70-year history of the UN refugee agency.
Teddy A. Wilkin at EASO explained the decline in Europe with fewer people crossing the Mediterranean. Italy, in particular, is pursuing an anti-immigrant policy and denying refugee boats access to its ports.
In the first five months of 2019, however, the declining trend for Europe is not confirmed.
On a fair distribution of asylum seekers to all countries, the European Union for a long time not agreed.
Countries like Hungary and Poland do not want to be obliged to accept migrants. That’s one of the reasons why Italy is blocking its ports.
There are opposite trends in France and Greece, France recorded an increase for the fourth consecutive year in 2018 (around 120,000 applications), and in Greece it increased for the fifth year in a row (77,000).
In Cyprus 69 percent and Spain 48 percent significantly more people sought asylum. The figures in Italy declined by 53 percent. In Romania, Estonia and Latvia number of applications lowered to 50 percent.
In terms of population size, most applications are received in Cyprus, Greece and Malta. Most applications, a good quarter of the total, came from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq (war torn countries).
After the Pan-European decline, the number of asylum applications increased sharply from January to May 2019 to more than 290,000 – an increase of 11 percent to the same period in 2018.
With a share of seven percent (around 18,400 applications), from the troubled Venezuela and Afghanistan in second place.
South American country suffers from a severe economic and political crisis. Around four million Venezuelans have left the country. Colombians also moved towards Europe.
Asylum Authority emphasized that the increase does not represent a turnaround and that monthly fluctuations are normal.
In addition, the increase must be seen in the context of the sharp decline in numbers in recent years.