In a report presented on Wednesday, the European Union Agency for Asylum (AUEA) said that it registered over 966,000 asylum applications in EU countries, Switzerland and Norway.
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This is the highest number of asylum requests processed in Europe since 2016 when 1.2 million asylum seekers arrived on this continent after the start of the armed conflict in Syria.
The AUEA notes that this increase is mainly due to the ease of COVID-19 restrictions and the Ukrainian conflict, which triggered international food and energy insecurity.
About four million Ukrainians have fled their country to seek "special temporary protection" status in Europe, putting this region's asylum system under considerable pressure. Currently, 28,000 citizens of this country have obtained such status.
Unaccompanied minors made 43,000 asylum applications in Europe during 2022, the highest record registered since 2015. Syrians (132,000) and Afghans (129,000) remain by far the first claimants for protection, followed by Turkish citizens (55,000).
About 43,000 Colombians also submitted this request in this period, a figure that exceeds three times the demands presented by citizens of this South American country in 2021.
The AUEA stressed that the last year’s asylum applications approval rate in Europe was the highest in five years. During this period, European authorities decided to grant refugee status to over 40 percent of applicants who requested so.
Such an approval rate, however, is not equitable. While 86 percent of the asylum requests made by Ukrainians were accepted, only one percent of the applications submitted by nationals of India, Moldova, Northern Macedonia, and Vietnam was approved.