Spain tops EU countries’ list of asylum requests

epa07781232 Venezuelans cross the border to Colombia by the Simon Bolivar Bridge, in Cucuta, Colombia, 18 August 2019. The Colombian city of Cucuta has the main border crossing with Venezuela. EPA-EFE/STR

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For the first time ever, Spain has received more asylum requests than any of its European Union partners, according to official data from the European Asylum Support Office.

The ongoing crisis in Venezuela and the widespread violence in a number of countries in Central America and Colombia have seen applications shoot up to 118,000 in 2019. At the start of this year, requests were at 3,500 a week. But just 5% of those applications are approved, a similar rate as Hungary and far off the EU average of 30%, El Pais reports 

The dramatic journeys made by would-be migrants on rickety boats are often featured on Spanish news bulletins, but the more silent phenomenon of asylum seekers coming in through Spain’s airports is one of the biggest challenges facing the country. Spanish authorities are carefully monitoring the statistics that arrive each week from the European Asylum Support Office, and the numbers are alarming.

The provisional figures, to which EL PAÍS has had access, show that in November of last year, all records were broken with the arrival of 3,600 asylum seekers per week. On the third week of January there were 3,700 requests. Not even in 2015 has Spain seen so many requests, a year when the conflict in Syria pushed more than a million refugees toward Europe. That year Germany received nearly 500,000 asylum applications, while Spain got barely 15,000. The historical record was set in 1993, during the war in the Balkans.

Via El Pais 

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