Most of the people granted protection by Bulgaria in 2014 were Syrians, according to figures released on May 12 by EU statistics office Eurostat.
Bulgaria granted protection status to 6140 Syrians (93 per cent of the total), 430 stateless persons (61. per cent) and 95 Iraqis (1.4 per cent).
Positive decisions by Bulgaria on asylum applications added up to 7020 in 2014. Eurostat said that 5170 people were given refugee status and 1855 what is termed subsidiary protection, while the number of applications granted for humanitarian reasons – which unlike the first two categories is governed by national legislation – was zero.
Eurostat said that the 27 EU countries for which data were available (the exception being Austria) granted protection status to 185 000 asylum seekers in 2014, an increase of close to 50 per cent compared with 2013.
Since 2008, more than 750 000 asylum seekers have been granted protection status in the EU.
The largest group of beneficiaries of protection status in the EU in 2014 remained citizens of Syria (68 400 persons or 37 per cent of the total number of persons granted protection status in the 27 EU member States for which data are available), followed at a distance by citizens of Eritrea (14 600 or eight per cent) and those of Afghanistan (14 100 or eight per cent).
Together, these three citizenships accounted for more than half of all persons granted protection status in the EU in 2014. Syrians, whose number has almost doubled compared with 2013 and quadrupled since 2012, represented in 2014 the largest group granted protection status in nearly half of EU countries.
Of the 68 400 Syrians granted protection status in the EU, more than 60 per cent were recorded in two EU member states: Germany (25 700) and Sweden (16 800).
Of the 14 600 Eritreans granted protection, more than three-quarters were registered in three EU member states: Sweden (5300), the Netherlands (3600) and the United Kingdom (2300).
Of the 14 100 Afghans, 5000 were granted protection status in Germany and 2400 in Italy.
In 2014, the highest numbers of persons granted protection status were registered in Germany (47 600, or +82 per cent compared with 2013) and Sweden (33 000, or +25 per cent), followed by France (20 600, or +27 per cent) and Italy (20 600, or +42 per cent).
Out of the 185 000 persons who were granted protection status in 2014 in the 27 EU member states for which data are available, 104 000 persons were granted refugee status (56 per cent of all positive decisions), 61 000 subsidiary protection (33 per cent) and 20 000 authorisation to stay for humanitarian reasons (11 per cent). In addition, the EU Member States received almost 6 500 resettled refugees .
In 2014, almost 360 000 first instance decisions on asylum applications6 were made in the 27 EU member states for which data are available and 135 000 final decisions on appeal. Decisions made at the first instance resulted in more than 160 000 persons being granted protection status, while a further 24 000 received protection status on appeal.
The rate of recognition of asylum applicants, i.e. the share of positive decisions in the total number of decisions, was 45 per cent for first instance decisions.
For final decisions on appeal, the recognition rate was 18 per cent. In the EU countries, more than three-quarters of first instance decisions resulted in positive outcome for asylum applicants in Bulgaria (94 per cent), Sweden (77 per cent) and Cyprus (76 per cent), and for final decisions on appeal in Bulgaria (86 per cent), Italy (84 per cent) and Finland (79 per cent).
(Photo: Ben Melrose/V Photo Agency)