Home Europe Record 1.14 Million Seek Asylum In EU, Germany Top Destination, Says Report

Record 1.14 Million Seek Asylum In EU, Germany Top Destination, Says Report

The cover of a report on migration in EU

A record 1.14 million people sought asylum in the European Union and EU+ nations Norway and Switzerland in 2023, says the annual report of the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) released Wednesday.

Germany maintained its position as the foremost destination for asylum seekers in the EU+, receiving very nearly a third, or 29 per cent of the asylum applications, with more than 334,000 people seeking protection in 2023. The nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has used the emotive and polarising issue of migration to garner almost 19 per cent of support in the country, which faces general elections in October 2025.

France (167,000), Spain (162,000) and Italy (136,000) followed as the biggest recipients of applications, while tiny Cyprus, with 12,000 applications, received the most relative to its population of 1.2 million.

According to the EUAA report, the EU+ received 1.1 million asylum applications, up by 18 per cent compared to 2022 and a level reminiscent of the 2015-16 refugee crisis.

‘At the end of 2023, there were more cases pending at first instance (883,000) than at any other point since 2016, amid the refugee crisis of 2015-16,’ the agency said.

Syrians (181,000 applications ) continued to lodge by far the most applications in 2023, up by 38 per cent compared to 2022.
Afghanistan remained the second largest country of origin, with 114,000 applications from nationals in 2023.

Last year also saw an 82% increase of in the number of Turkish citizens applying for international protection in the EU, at more than 100,000.

Palestinians applying for asylum in the European Union jumped to a record high of more than 11,000, up from about 6,700 in 2022.

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“The increased numbers are not unexpected, because of the increase in geopolitical instability around the world, with growing conflicts in regions not far from Europe,” Alberto Horst Neidhardt, a senior policy analyst at the European Policy Centre think tank, told the German News Service Deutsche Welle.

At the end 2023, there were about 4.4 million beneficiaries of temporary protection in the EU+ who fled Ukraine following Russia’s full-scale invasion. ‘Notably, Czechia (The Czech Republic) hosted the most beneficiaries per capita, followed by Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland,’ it said. These numbers are not included in the report as they have been provided “temporary protection” and do not need to formally apply for asylum.

The EUAA acknowledges that the numbers in its annual report do not “paint a complete picture” across the European Union. The most recent “Global Trends” report from the UN Refugee Agency found that 110 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced from their homes, an increase of more than 1.6 million people from the end of 2022, DW said.

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