The downward trend in the number of asylum applications in the EU continued in the first half of 2018, according to figures published by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).
In the first six months of 2018, some 301 390 people asked for asylum in the EU, Norway and Switzerland, a figure that was 15 per cent lower than in the same period of last year.
EASO said on August 3 that about 51 300 applications were lodged in June, or 1600 fewer than in May.
The main countries of origin of applicants in June were Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Nigeria. Of these, Syrians and Afghans lodged slightly fewer applications, whereas nationals of Iraq (an increase of 182, or six per cent) and Pakistan (303 more, or 14 per cent) lodged more applications than in May.
During the reporting period, Venezuelan applicants, which have steadily increased over the first five months of 2018, lodged fewer applications than in May (down 921, a decrease of 30 per cent), although monthly applications remained at a much higher level (up 67 per cent) than at the beginning of the year.
Other countries with fewer applicants were Bangladesh, Colombia and Somalia. Of note was a rise in applications by Turkish nationals in June, with 2157 applications lodged (up 32 per cent compared to May).
The overall recognition rate for decisions issued in the EU, Norway and Switzerland during the first half of 2018 was 32 per cent, down from 42 per cent during the same period of 2017.
Positive decisions more often granted refugee status (63 per cent) than subsidiary protection (37 per cent). Among citizenships with the most decisions issued, the highest recognition rates were for nationals of Syria (86 per cent), Eritrea (83 per cent) and stateless applicants (60 per cent).
At the end of June, there were 420 238 applications awaiting a decision in first instance, around 3000 fewer than at the end of May. Pending cases are an important measure of the workload that national asylum authorities face, as well as of the pressure on the national reception systems, EASO said.
(Photo of the Kara Tepe refugee camp in Greece in June 2016: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas)