FECL 54 (May 1998):


According to a report published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU, the number of asylum seekers in the EU, Switzerland and Norway, dropped significantly in 1996. The total number of asylum applications was 246,000 in 1996, which is 46,000 (16 per cent) less than in 1995.

The figures confirm a downward trend that began in 1993, after a record figure of 696,000 applications in 1992. The fall in applications seems to be essentially due to the fact that fewer people from the former Yugoslavia are seeking protection abroad. The number of asylum seekers from Central and Eastern European countries, in particular from Poland and Bulgaria, has also decreased.

Major decreases in the number of asylum applications were noted in the following countries:

  1995 1996



Netherlands 22,857 29,258
Sweden 5,774 9,047
United Kingdom 29,642 54,988

Rises were recorded in:

  1995 1996
Austria 6,991 5,920
Belgium 12,412 11,409
Denmark 5,893 5,104
Norway 1,778 1,460
Switzerland 17,936 17,021

Germany, once again, received the largest number of applications, amounting to about half of all applications made in the EU.

Turkey is still the country of origin of the largest group of asylum seekers in Western Europe (29,143 in 1996), followed by the states of the former Yugoslavia (25,285), Iraq (22,389, as against only 13,707 in 1995), and the former USSR (17,026).


Source: Eurostat, Quarterly Bulletin, Population and Social Conditions, 1/98.