The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a new quarterly report, providing an overview of key asylum trends characterising the second quarter of 2014. Data analysed are applications for international protection made by asylum seekers and decisions made on those applications by European Member States and Associated Countries (EU+).
Applications for international protection increased during this period of the year, as it happened in 2013, reaching the number of about 131.000. For the first time, the number of Syrian applicants exceeded the Western Balkans applicants, representing the largest group in 2013.
One of the most interesting trends is the striking increase of applications from Ukrainian citizens. EASO reports that 2470 applications were lodged by Ukrainian citizens during the second quarter of 2014 (+128% from March 2014, seven times higher than during the same period of 2013). According to EASO, while in the past applicants were already in EU for other reasons when applying for international protection, today Ukrainians enter Europe with the aim to lodge an application. Poland and Italy are the main destination countries at the moment.
Despite this increase, only one out of five applications have been already decided at first instance and the rate of recognition is very low. EASO explains that reasons could be found in the lack of organizations reporting on the security and human rights situation in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, resulting in the respective country of origin information (COI) being fragmented and inconclusive. Therefore, EU+ countries often decide to freeze the procedure until the situation in Ukraine will be clearer.