Lowest number of asylum requests in EU for 20 years

24/04/2007 15:00

Nearly 200 thousand requests for asylum were submitted in countries in the European Union in 2006. This is the lowest number for 20 years. The Netherlands is one of the few countries where the number of requests was higher in 2006 than in the previous year.

Asylum requests in the European Union

Asylum requests in the European Union

Most requests in France

The number of asylum requests was fell in nearly all countries of the EU in 2006 compared with 2005, by 17 percent overall. The decrease was largest in France. In spite of this France received more requests for asylum than any other EU country.

In 2002 and 2003 most asylum requests were submitted in the United Kingdom, but since 2003 the number there has halved, to fewer than 30 thousand in 2006.

Asylum requests in the European Union

Asylum requests in the European Union

Increases in Sweden and the Netherlands

There were also countries where the number of requests rose on the other hand. The number of requests for asylum in Sweden, for example, rose to 24 thousand, 7 thousand more than in 2005. This increase was almost completely caused by an increasing number of Iraqi asylumseekers. The extensive Iraqi community in Sweden and their strong social network played an important part in this. 

In the Netherlands, too, the number of requests for asylum rose, to 14.5 thousand in 2006. This puts the Netherlands in fifth place in the EU 25 in terms of asylum requests in 2006. It should be taken into account that this number include follow-up applications. The exact number of these applications is not known but it was at least 3.4 thousand in 2006.

Relatively most requests in Cyprus

In relative terms, Cyprus received most request for asylum in 2006: 5.3 per thousand inhabitants. In Malta and Sweden, too, the number of requests was relatively high at 3.1 and 2.7 per thousand. The Netherlands received nearly 1 request for asylum per thousand inhabitants.

Asylum requests in the EU per thousand inhabitants, 2006

Asylum requests in the EU per thousand inhabitants, 2006

Most asylumseekers in the EU from Iraq

Most requests for asylum in the European Union are submitted by Iraqis (19 thousand), Russians (14 thousand) en  Serbians and Montenegrins (14 thousand). Nearly half of Iraqi asylumseekers went to Sweden, while many Russians sought asylum in Poland, and France and Germany received many Serbians. The Netherlands received mainly asylumseekers from Iraq and Somalia.

Arno Sprangers, Han Nicolaas and Joke Korpel