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Germany made one in four EU asylum grants

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Germany made one in four EU asylum grants
Refugee children play outside of a Rhineland-Palatinate facility for asylum seekers. Photo: DPA.
14:40 CEST+02:00
As the European Commission presented a migration plan that would share responsibility for refugees across all EU countries, new data showed that Germany accepted the largest share of asylum applications of any Union member in 2014.

The Commission plan announced on Wednesday proposes measures to address the influx of migrants seeking to reach the continent, including beefed-up European border protections and quotas for the number of migrants each country should take in, seen as a way to share the responsibility fairly.

"The plight of thousands of migrants putting their lives in peril to cross the Mediterranean has shocked.

"It is clear that no EU country can or should be left alone to address huge migratory pressures," the Commission wrote in its report. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been a strong supporter of a quota system, coming from a country that has, according to new data, granted the greatest share of asylum applications across the EU.

A total of 184,665 people were granted asylum protection across the EU, of whom more than a quarter (47,555) were given protection in Germany, according to Eurostat data released on Tuesday.

More than half of those granted asylum in Germany were from Syria (54.1 percent) while Afghan people made up the second-largest group (10.4 percent) and Iraqi people made up the third largest (8.8 percent).

While Germany took in by far the largest portion of EU asylum recipients, Sweden gave protection to the greatest number per capita, granting protection to more than 33,000 people within their national population of about 9.6 million.

Still, Germany received the highest number of asylum applications in the EU last year at over 200,000 - more than twice as many as in the second-highest country, Sweden, at about 81,000 applicants.

The rate of accepting applications in Germany was not as high as in other countries.

Of the more than 97,000 asylum cases that had been decided as of the most recent analysis, 42 percent were given protections on their first attempt and 16 percent of appealed decisions were granted protection.

In Sweden, which had made decisions on nearly 40,000 cases, 77 percent of applicants were granted protection in their first attempt and 18 percent of appeals received positive decisions.

Germany reportedly expelled the highest number of asylum seekers last year since 2006, the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung reported in February. Nearly 11,000 were expelled in 2014, up from 10,198 in 2013.

The leader of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the Bundestag (German parliament) Volker Kauder said last month that Germany could and should take in more refugees.

The Commission plan on Wednesday came amid concerns at the growing numbers of refugees, especially from war-torn countries like Syria, after weeks in which hundreds have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea by boat to reach the continent.
 
Other proposals within the plan include better targeting of people smugglers, whose unsafe and over-crowded boats have been blamed for recent tragedies, and expanding resources for search and rescue.
 
It also calls for better methods for identifying migrants, improving ways for qualified immigrant workers to get jobs, and monitoring those whose applications are rejected to ensure they make it home.

Even more ambitious are proposals for finding ways to solve the problems that cause people to flee in the first place. The Commission calls for building "stronger partnerships with key countries outside the EU".

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