EU: 16% of asylum applicants are from Western Balkans

96% rejection rate in 2012, but general upward trend

19 November, 16:59

    (ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS, NOVEMBER 19 - The 16% of all asylum applicants in the EU in 2012 and in the first six months of the 2013 came from the Western Balkans countries (considered together). In recent years, after the liberalization of the visa's regime for the citizens of Serbia, Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro and FYROM in the Schengen's area, their applications have consistently represented the highest numbers of asylum requests made in the EU (exceeding the numbers from any other country of origin), despite the fact that are largely considered to be unfound, as shown by a rejection rate of 96% in 2012. The Top 5 destination countries are Germany, France, Sweden, Belgium and Switzerland, followed by Hungary, Austria, Luxembourg, Italy, United Kingdom, Denmark and Greece. According to the European Asylum Support Office, the applications were nearly 20,000 in 2008, about 60,000 in 2012 and over 30,000 in the first half of 2013. The number of applications is variable over time, showing a general upward trend, and strongly seasonal, with the major peaks being seen just before winter. Asylum seekers from Western Balkans consist mainly of Roma from Serbia and FYROM, and Albanians from Albania and Kosovo. Apart from the larger cities in origin countries, however, the main areas appear to be in Kosovo, or around Kosovo, i.e. Northern Albania, Southern Serbia and Northern FYROM are typical areas of origin. EU Member States and associated countries and Western Balkans countries both appear agree that, at root, the phenomenon of use of the asylum systems to make manifestly unfounded applications has an economic cause, which is exacerbated particularly in Serbia and FYROM for ethnic minorities. Though Western Balkans citizens face one of the highest rejection rates of asylum claims of any countries of origin, the rate varies by destination country and by country of origin, with Albania seeing the highest number of positive decisions and FYROM the lowest overall. (ANSAmed).

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