Migration: More than 1.1 million people applied for asylum in Europe in 2023

The number of asylum seekers in Europe significantly exceeded the one million mark last year.

Migration: More than 1.1 million people applied for asylum in Europe in 2023

The number of asylum seekers in Europe significantly exceeded the one million mark last year. The European Union's asylum agency, based on the Mediterranean island of Malta, registered a total of 1.14 million applications in the 27 EU member states as well as Norway and Switzerland, according to its annual report published in Valletta on Wednesday. Compared to the previous year, this represents an increase of 18 percent.

According to the asylum agency, most applicants once again came from the civil war-torn Syria, followed by Afghanistan. Towards the end of the year, after the new Gaza war began in October, Palestinians increasingly wanted to go to Europe. Germany remained by far the most important target country, where, according to this information, 334,000 new applications were registered between January and December 2023.

In the previous year, the total number of applications remained just under the million mark at 996,000. However, significantly more were registered in 2015 (1.4 million) and 2016 (1.3 million). This does not include more than 4.4 million people from Ukraine who sought refuge in the EU and received temporary protection as a result of the Russian war of aggression.

The figures for Germany differ slightly from information from the responsible federal office in Nuremberg, which reported around 329,000 applications for the year as a whole. Either way, Germany accounted for almost a third of all applications - as much as in the following two countries, France (167,000) and Spain (162,000) combined. Great Britain, which is no longer part of the EU, does not want to announce its figures until the end of the week. Calculated per capita, the most applications were received in Cyprus - one application for every 78 residents. For comparison: In Germany it was one in 252.

Among the countries of origin, Syria (181,000) was in the lead, where civil war has been raging for more than ten years. Compared to the previous year, 38 percent more came. However, the number of applications from people from Afghanistan (114,000), where the radical Islamist Taliban are now back in power, fell. Turkey was also just above the 100,000 mark (101,000). 11,600 applications from Palestinians were also registered over the year - two thirds more than the year before.

Compared to previous years, significantly more applications were approved by the EU states. The so-called recognition rate was 43 percent, the highest it has been in seven years. Dealing with migrants who want to come to Europe has been one of the major controversial issues in European politics for decades. Attempts to cross the Mediterranean repeatedly result in fatal disasters.

In December, the EU decided on a far-reaching reform of its common asylum system with significant restrictions for illegal immigrants. In the future, people who have little chance of recognition will go through accelerated procedures at the EU's external borders.

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