The number of asylum applications in the EU+ countries in the first half of 2019 was 10 per cent higher than in the first half of 2018, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) said.
The EU+ is composed of the 28 EU countries plus Norway and Switzerland.
Preliminary analyses reveal that in the first half of 2019 about 337 200 applications for asylum were lodged in the EU+. In contrast to this upward trend, in June 2019 applications fell to the lowest level of the year, but there were fewer working days.
Citizens of Syria, Afghanistan and Venezuela continued to lodge the most applications, with only Syrians seeking asylum in reduced numbers.
“Importantly, applicants from several Latin-American countries have already lodged the same (or higher) number of applications as in the whole of 2018,” EASO said.
“These citizenships are all exempt of visa requirements when entering the Schengen area, now accounting for more than one in four applications in the EU+.”
The output of first-instance authorities remained at lower levels. About 277 700 decisions were issued at first instance, in line with the previous semester. As a result, the number of cases awaiting a decision at first instance remained stable throughout the past twelve months, and amounted to 439 000 at the end of June.
About 95 300 first-instance decisions issued so far in 2019 have granted EU-regulated forms of protection (70 per cent refugee status and 30 per cent subsidiary protection) which amounts to a recognition rate of 34 per cent.
Citizens from Yemen and Syria had the highest rate (86 per cent) whereas Moldovans (0.3 per cent) and people from the Republic of North Macedonia had the lowest (one per cent).
(Photo: Unicef/Tomislav Georgiev)