Sharp increase in asylum-seekers across Europe

Accelerating number registering in Europe in first half of year most evident in Hungary

The number of people seeking asylum in Europe accelerated sharply in the first six months of this year.

Figures compiled by Eurostat show a total of 626,710 asylum applications were received across the European Union last year.

In the first half of 2015 the number of applications stood at 417,430, equivalent to two thirds of the total for 2014.

<b>Asylum applications</b><br> 2014-2015

The accelerating number of asylum-seekers registering in Europe in the first half of the year was most evident in Hungary, where refugees on Thursday threw themselves onto train tracks and fled from police trying to take them to a reception centre.

The numbers of asylum-seekers entering Hungary in the first half of this year was 1½ times the full-year figure for 2014.

The next-highest rise in asylum figures was recorded in Germany, where the number of asylum applications made in the first six months of the year was equivalent to 85 per cent of the previous year’s total.

Ireland, which received 1,450 applications in all of 2014, has already registered 1,145 applications this year, 80 per cent of the 2014 total.

The figures mean Ireland will see a year-on-year increase in the number of asylum applications for the second year in a row: it recorded a 53 per cent increase in asylum figures between 2013 and 2014, which marked the first increase in a decade.

Comparatively low

The number of Syrian asylum-seekers has grown sharply although, according to the UNHCR, the number of Syrians arriving in Europe remains comparatively low at about 7 per cent of those seeking refuge.

Figures from the UNHCR charting new asylum applications lodged in the 28 European Union states, Norway and Switzerland in the year to the end of July stood at almost 86,000.

With just under 300,000 asylum-seekers registering in Europe since the conflict began, this means 30 per cent of these applications were in 2015.

The number of Syrian people seeking asylum in the first seven months of the year is equivalent to almost 70 per cent of the full-year total for 2014.

In the wider EU over half of asylum-seekers were unsuccessful in their application, but the percentage of successful applications among asylum-seekers differs greatly from state to state.

In 2014, Hungary refused asylum to 91 per cent of applicants, compared to 85 per cent in Greece, 78 per cent in France, 62 per cent in Ireland and 61 per cent in the UK.

On the other end of the scale, more than three quarters of over 40,000 applications made in Sweden were successful.