Sixty-three per cent of the total 7145 asylum applicants in Bulgaria in 2013 were from Syria, according to a report by European Union statistics office Eurostat released on March 24 2014.
The 4510 Syrians made up the largest single group of asylum applicants in Bulgaria, followed by people classified as “stateless” (565 people, or eight per cent) and Algerians (435 people, or six per cent).
Eurostat said that a large increase, to almost 435 000 asylum applicants, was registered in the EU28 in 2013, and again the largest group was from Syria
Of the asylum applicants registered in the 28 member countries of the EU in 2013, it was estimated that about 90 per cent of these were new applicants and about 10 per cent were repeat applicants.
In 2012, there were 335 000 asylum applicants.
Germany, France, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Italy registered 70 per cent of all applicants.
In 2013, the highest number of applicants was registered in Germany (127 000 applicants, or 29 per cent of total applicants), followed by France (65 000, or 15 per cent), Sweden (54 000, or 13 per cent), the United Kingdom (30 000, or seven per cent) and Italy (28 000, or six per cent).
These five EU member states accounted for 70 per cent of all applicants registered in the EU28 in 2013.
Compared with the population of each member state, the highest rates of applicants registered were recorded in Sweden (5700 applicants per million inhabitants), Malta (5300), Austria (2100), Luxembourg (2000), Hungary and Belgium (both 1900).
Rates below 100 applicants per million inhabitants were observed in seven EU countries: Portugal (50), the Czech Republic (65), Estonia (70), Romania (75), Slovakia (80), Latvia and Spain (both 95).
In 2013, there were 860 asylum applicants per million inhabitants in the EU28.
Syrians and Russians accounted for nearly a quarter of all asylum seekers.
Syria (50 000 asylum applicants, or 12 per cent of the total number of applicants) became in 2013 the first main country of citizenship of these applicants, ahead of Russia (41 000, or 10 per cent), Afghanistan (26 000, or six per cent), Serbia (22 000, or five per cent), Pakistan (21 000, or five per cent) and Kosovo (20 000, or five per cent).
In some EU countries, a large proportion of the applicants came from a single country.
The EU countries with the highest concentrations were Poland (84 per cent of the applicants came from Russia), Latvia (76 per cent from Georgia), Romania (68 per cent from Syria) and Bulgaria (63 per cent from Syria).
More than a third of first instance decisions were positive.
In 2013 in the EU28, 65 per cent of first instance decisions made on asylum applications were rejections, while 15 per cent of applicants were granted refugee status, 14 per cent subsidiary protection and five per cent authorisation to stay for humanitarian reasons, Eurostat said.
(Archive photo: Thousands of people flowed from Syria across the Peshkhabour border crossing into Iraq’s Dohuk Governorate. Photo: UNHCR/G. Gubaeva)