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Britain took in more migrants than 17 other EU countries put together, new data shows

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

New asylum data showing unequal distribution of asylum grants across European Union hands George Osborne, the Chancellor, new argument against Brussels

Britain accepted more asylum seekers last year than 17 other European Union countries put together, new data shows.

The figures are expected to be seized upon by George Osborne, the Chancellor, as he begins negotiations with the EU after Britain was told it must take tens of thousands of refugees from the Mediterranean.

Data compiled by Eurostat, the European Commission’s own statistics agency, showed Britain gave asylum protection to 14,065 people in 2014, while other large European states accepted just a few hundred each.

Spain, one of the more populous countries in the EU, with 46 million people, gave asylum to just 1,600 asylum applicants last year, and Poland – with a population of 38 million – took just 740.

A boat carrying migrants, including men, women and children, off the coast of Libya in 2014 Photo: EPA

Ireland took 495 while Portugal’s figure was 40, down from 135 the previous year.

The figures highlighting how total asylum numbers are shared unequally across member states are expected to put Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, under pressure to devise a fairer system of distributing refugees.

Earlier this week Mr Juncker disclosed plans for a new system of “fair and balanced participation of all member states” at times of “mass influx” of refugees.

Papers from the European Commission showed there would be a new formula for the number of asylum claimants sent to each country based on population, GDP, unemployment rate and its previous total of asylum seekers.

Bodies of dead migrants lie on the deck of the Italian ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, Malta, last month

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has handed Mr Osborne the new role of leading negotiations with the EU ahead of the in-out referendum on Britain’s EU membership.

The attempt by Mr Juncker to impose a new refugee quota system is set to be the first flashpoint between the Conservative government and the EU.

In the new data Britain’s total number of people granted asylum protection was the fifth largest in the EU.

Germany took the most at more than 47,500, followed by Sweden with 33,000, while France and Italy granted protection to about 20,600 each.

In total the number of applications granted in the EU rose by nearly 50 per cent year-on-year to just under 185,000.

The 17 countries which accepted fewer asylum applicants than the UK combined were Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Poland, Finland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Estonia, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Luxembourg.

In total the 17 granted asylum to 12,900 people.

Romania, which has a population of 20 million, granted just 775 people asylum, down from 1,840 in the previous 12 months.

Source: The Telegraph

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