Last year, there were a total of 728,470 migrants who applied for asylum in European Union countries, a reduction of 44% from 2016.
EU’s EASO agency annual report shows that contrary to the average trend in the European Union, applications in Malta decreased by 5% only.
During 2017, no migrants arriving with boats disembarked in Malta, however the country processed 1,840 applications by migrants seeking asylum in Malta, more than half of them Syrians (436), Libyans (409) and Somalis (332).
Figures published by Malta based EASO show that last year the Maltese authorities received 90 applications less than 2016 (1,930) and in the same level of 2015 (1,845).
By the end of last year, Malta had 1,500 pending cases to process – an increase of 40% over 2016 (1,070). 24% of the pending cases involved migrants from Somalia. Countries such as Romania, Spain, Cyprus and Italy all experienced increases of over 50% in pending cases.
EASO noted that for the second consecutive year there was a decrease in migratory routes in the east and centre of the Mediterranean, however the western part experienced an unprecedented increase.
The EU’s 28 states received 728,470, almost half of the applications of 2016, however still at a high level from the migration crisis of 2015. (2013 – 464,505; 2014 – 662,165; 2015 – 1,393,875; 2016 – 1,292,740; 2017 – 728,470).
Germany processed a third of all applications (222,560 – 31%) for asylum, while with 128,850 applications, Italy had 17.7% of applications.
EASO provisional figures indicate that the decreasing trend in asylum applications in the EU continued during the first four months of this year.
Meanwhile, the EASO report was presented in Brussels by the acting Executive Director, Jamil Addou after Portuguese Jose Carreiro resigned earlier this month while he was under investigation by OLAF.