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Numbers seeking EU asylum so far this year exceeds 2014 total, claims data shows

Published 30/09/2015

Provisional data shows that 648,195 people lodged asylum claims in the EU in the first eight months of 2015
Provisional data shows that 648,195 people lodged asylum claims in the EU in the first eight months of 2015

The number of people claiming asylum in Europe this year has already surpassed the total for the whole of 2014, new figures have revealed.

In the latest demonstration of the unprecedented scale of global migration, provisional data shows that 648,195 main applicants and family members lodged claims in the EU in the first eight months of 2015.

The tally is more than 20,000 higher than the 626,960 recorded in the bloc's 28 member states last year and almost three times higher than in 2008, when the current set of statistics started.

It also emerged that nearly 110,000 asylum seekers and any dependants applied to stay in EU countries in August, indicating that refugees were arriving at a rate of more than 3,500 every day.

This was despite only nine member states having submitted figures to official data agency Eurostsat, while the scale of claims was nearly double the number recorded in August last year.

Hungary and Germany received the lion's share of the applicants last month, with 47,095 and 36,415 respectively.

Last week it emerged that the number of people seeking asylum in the UK was at its highest monthly level for more than six years.

Claims covering a total of 4,305 main applicants and any dependants were lodged in this country in July, according to the figures.

The UK is among the countries which have not yet provided data for August.

Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, said: "The data underline how uneven the distribution of asylum seekers has been across Europe.

"It is particularly striking that the UK has received such a small share of Europe's asylum applications.

"Compared to the rapid growth in applications on the continent, recent increases in the UK have been relatively modest."

Britain has faced calls to take more refugees as Europe struggles to cope with the largest mass movement of people since the Second World War.

Earlier this month, David Cameron announced plans to take 20,000 people from camps around war-ravaged Syria after the publication of photographs of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who drowned with his mother and brother trying to cross from Turkey to Greece by boat.

The first refugees to be accepted under the expanded resettlement programme arrived in Britain last week, while the Prime Minister pledged an extra £115 million in aid as European leaders held an emergency summit on the crisis.

But the UK has refused to take part in a scheme to relocate 160,000 migrants from Greece and Italy.

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