A record 1.3 million migrants applied for asylum in the Europe in 2015 – nearly twice as many as the previous high point in 1992, around the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to new research by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center.
Since 1985, Europe has received about 11.6 million asylum applications, with last year's 1.3 million amounting to about one-tenth of all applications received during the past 30 years by the 28 members of the EU, Norway and Switzerland, Pew noted. It used data collected by Eurostat, the EU's statistical agency, to inform its research.
Europe has become a safe haven for thousands of people fleeing conflict, poverty and persecution in parts of Africa and the Middle East. While Pew noted that eastern European countries such as Kosovo and Albania still contribute to the flow of asylum seekers, about half of refugees in 2015 trace their origins to just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The diaspora and displacement of peoples seemed to peak in 2015 with Europe left largely unprepared and divided on how to deal with the influx of people.