Bulgaria approved 5605 asylum applications in 2015, of which 4705 were the granting of refugee status and the rest were subsidiary protection.
Subsidiary protection is that granted to a non-EU national or stateless person who does not qualify as a refugee “but in respect of whom substantial grounds have been shown for believing that the person concerned, if returned to his or her country of citizenship, or in the case of a stateless person, to his or her country of former habitual residence, would face a real risk of suffering serious harm and is unable, or, owing to such risk, unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country”.
Ninety-five per cent of those granted protection status in Bulgaria in 2015 were Syrians, in all 5320 people, according to figures released on April 20 2016 by EU statistics office Eurostat.
The next-largest group was people from Iraq, 160 (2.9 per cent) and stateless persons, 95 (1.7 per cent, Eurostat said.
EU Member States granted protection to 333 350 asylum seekers in 2015, an increase of 72 per cent compared with 2014. Half of the beneficiaries were Syrians, Eurostat said.
Since 2008, a total of nearly 1.1 million asylum seekers have been granted protection status in the EU. The largest group of beneficiaries of protection status in the EU in 2015 remained citizens of Syria (166 100 people, or 50 per cent of the total number of persons granted protection status in the EU member states), followed by citizens of Eritrea (27 600 or eight per cent) and those of Iraq (23 700 or seven per cent).
Syrians, for whom the number of decisions granting protection status has more than doubled compared with 2014, represented in 2015 the largest group granted protection status in more than half of the EU countries.
Of the 166 100 Syrians granted protection status in the EU, more than 60 per cent were recorded in Germany (104 000).
Of the 27 600 Eritreans granted protection, more than three-quarters were registered in three EU member states: Germany (9 500), Sweden (6 600) and the Netherlands (4 900). Of the 23 700 Iraqis, 15 500 were granted protection status in Germany and 2800 in France.
In 2015, the highest number of people granted protection status was registered in Germany (148 200, or 212 per cent more compared with 2014), followed by Sweden (34 500, or four per cent more), Italy (29 600, or 44 per cent more), France (26 000, or 26 per cent more), the United Kingdom (17 900, or 26 per cent more), Austria (17 800, or an increase of 77 per cent) and the Netherlands (17 000, or 29 per cent more).
Out of all the people who were granted protection status in 2015 in the EU, 246 200 were granted refugee status (74 per cent of all positive decisions), 60 700 subsidiary protection (18 per cent) and 26 500 authorisation to stay for humanitarian reasons (eight per cent).
In addition to those granted protection status, the EU member states received more than 8 100 resettled refugees.
It should be noted that, while both refugee and subsidiary protection status are defined by EU law, humanitarian status is granted on the basis of national legislation, Eurostat said.
(Photo: Unicef/Tomislav Georgiev)