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Number of migrants claiming asylum in the EU this year passes 1m

Published 09/12/2015

The massive influx has seen a number of countries come under strain, including Greece, Italy and Hungary (AP)
The massive influx has seen a number of countries come under strain, including Greece, Italy and Hungary (AP)

The number of migrants claiming asylum in the EU this year has now officially passed one million.

Statistics updated today revealed that, as of last month, at least 1,001,910 main applicants and dependants had sought international protection in the 28 member states in 2015.

The true total will be higher as only one country - Finland - has registered data for November with the EU's statistics agency.

In the latest indication of the unprecedented scale of the international refugee crisis this year, the number of asylum applicants and family members registered in the bloc so far this year is already 60% higher than for the whole of 2014.

It is also by far the highest tally since comparable records started in 2008.

Press Association analysis of the figures compiled by Eurostat show that Syrian citizens accounted for 264,575 - or just over a quarter - of the applications.

Claims covering a total of 26,995 main applicants and dependants have been lodged in the UK, which has supplied data up to September, according to the figures. This is just under 3% of the total registered in the EU.

Separate figures published by the Home Office last month showed that the number of migrants claiming asylum in Britain reached a 12-year high between July and September, when the crisis was at its height.

The massive influx has seen a number of countries come under strain, including Greece, Italy and Hungary, while divisions over how to deal with the emergency opened up within the EU.

It has been described as the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War, with more than 3,500 people reported to have died or gone missing attempting to cross the Mediterranean this year.

The UK, which has rejected calls to join an EU redistribution scheme, will resettle 20,000 Syrians from camps around the war-torn country by 2020.

Alp Mehmet, of campaign group Migration Watch UK, said:"The numbers claiming asylum were always going to go up, especially after the Germans, encouraged by Brussels, said they were prepared to accept all asylum seekers.

"This was an ill-considered commitment and the UK was wise to keep well away from it."

Germany received the highest number of applications with 343,610 in the 10 months to October, according to the data . This is more than a third of the EU total.

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