Data released by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) showed that new applications for asylum have increased by 31% from December 2013 to January 2014 in the European Union and by 21% in Greece.
According to the Monthly Trend Analysis Report for January, the biggest increase in new asylum applications was recorded in Italy (41%), Belgium (36%) and Germany (31%). The number of new asylum applications in the EU in January amounted to 36,586, compared to 32,478 in December, representing a rise of 13%. Meanwhile, the EASO reported that compared with January 2013, the number of asylum claims in January 2014 rose by 21%. Compared with December, the number of new applications for asylum in Greece increased by 21% in January. The majority was submitted by citizens of Afghanistan (121) and Pakistan (105).
As reported by the Greek Ministry of Public Order, the rise of asylum claims is due to the work of the recently established Asylum Service, which has taken over from the Greek Police. Maria Stavropoulou, head of the Asylum Service stated that they have managed to reduce the backlog of applications from 45,000 to 27,000.
However, according to the EASO report, Greece still remains among the countries with the biggest number of unprocessed asylum claims. In the EU the number of unprocessed applications in January amounts to 244,650.