Majority of asylum applicants in 2014 were from Libya, Syria and Somalia

Malta received 1,350 asylum applications last year, registering a 40% decrease over 2013

A total of 1,350 asylum applications were submitted last year, mostly coming from Libya, Syria and Somalia. The figure marks a 40% decrease compared to the 2,245 registered in 2013.

According to Eurostat data, Malta also granted asylum status to 1,260 applicants, out of 1,735 pending decisions.

360 of the applicants were Syrians, 295 were Libyans and 285 were from Somalia.

Eurostat said that, over a year, the number of asylum applicants registered in the European Union (EU) has increased by 191,000 (+44%) to reach a peak of 626,000 in 2014. In particular, the number of Syrians rose by 72 000, from 50 000 in 2013 to almost 123,000 in 2014.

In 2014, the highest number of applicants was registered by far in Germany (202 700 applicants, or 32% of total applicants), followed by Sweden (81 200, or 13%), Italy (64 600, or 10%), France (62 800, or 10%) and Hungary (42 800, or 7%). It should be noted that these five Member States registered different trends last year. The number of asylum applicants in 2014 more than doubled compared with 2013 in Italy (+143%) and Hungary (+126%) and increased significantly in Germany (+60%) and Sweden (+50%), while it decreased by 5% in France.

Compared with the population of each Member State, the highest rates of registered applicants were recorded in Sweden (8.4 applicants per thousand inhabitants), well ahead of Hungary (4.3), Austria (3.3), Malta (3.2), Denmark (2.6) and Germany (2.5). In contrast, the lowest rates were observed in Portugal, Slovakia and Romania. In 2014, there were 1.2 asylum applicants per thousand inhabitants in the EU.

Over 70 000 Syrians applied for asylum in Germany and Sweden

Syria (122 800 asylum applicants, or 20% of the total number of applicants) continued to be the main country of citizenship of asylum applicants. Of the 122 800 Syrians who applied for asylum in the EU in 2014, around 60% were registered in two Member States: Germany (41 100) and Sweden (30 800). Syrians represented also the main citizenship of asylum seekers in Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Spain, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Austria, Romania and Slovenia.

Afghanistan (41 300 asylum applicants, or 7% of the total number of applicants) became the second country of citizenship of asylum seekers in the EU in 2014. Of the 41 300 Afghans seeking asylum protection in the EU in 2014, 9 700 were registered in Germany and 8 800 in Hungary.

With 37 900 applicants (or 6% of the EU total) in 2014, Kosovo4 completed the top 3 citizenships of asylum seekers in the EU. More than half applied for asylum in Hungary (21 500).

In some Member States, at least half of the applicants came from a single country. This was the case in 2014 in Cyprus (57% of the applicants came from Syria), Bulgaria (56% from Syria), Hungary (50% from Kosovo) and Poland (50% from Russia).