295,800 asylum seekers granted protection in EU last year

FILE PHOTO: Refugees and migrants arrive on a passenger ferry from the island of Samos, at the port of Elefsina near Athens Greece, October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Costas Baltas/File Photo

The EU granted protection status to 295,800 asylum seekers last year, compared to the 316,200 granted protection in 2018, Eurostat figures show.

A total of 141,100 were recognised as refugees, while 82,100 were granted subsidiary protection and 72,700 were granted humanitarian protection.

As has been the case in recent years, the largest group of beneficiaries remained Syrians, who accounted for 27% of those granted protection in the EU last year, followed by Afghans (14%) and Venezuelans (13%).

Venezuelan asylum seekers were the most likely to be successful in their requests, with 96% receiving protection, followed by Syrians (85%) and Eritreans (81%).  Nearly all Venezuelans sought protection in Spain.

Germany granted protection to the largest number of asylum seekers (116,230), followed by France (42,120), Spain (38,525) and Italy (31,010).

435 asylum seekers were granted protection in Malta last year, the 17th highest number among the EU’s 27 member states. As a proportion of the population, this represents the sixth-highest rate in the EU, roughly half the rate in Greece, which tops the list.

Protection in Malta was primarily granted to Syrians (285 persons) , followed by Libyans (75) and Eritreans (17). Malta was the only EU member states in which Libyan nationals were among the top 3 nationalities.

39% of asylum seekers in Malta were granted protection on first instance, slightly higher than the EU average of 38%. However, just 5% of those who filed an appeal were successful, compared to an EU average of 21%.

21,200 resettled refugees

Additionally, EU received 21,200 resettled refugees from third countries last year.

The vast majority of resettled refugees ended up in three countries, namely France (5,600), Sweden (4,955) and Germany (4,890). Other countries are far behind: the Netherlands is a distant fourth at 1,876, followed by Italy at 1,355.

Ten EU members received no resettled refugees in 2019: Malta is one of them.