Unresolved asylum applications exceed 100,000 in Spain
Catalan Commission for Refugees expresses "great disappointment" over policies of Pedro Sánchez government
Spain has more than 100,000 asylum applications that are still waiting to be resolved, says the Catalan Commission for Refugees (CEAR).
The organization says that between January and May there were 46,000 new applications to add to those pending from previous years.
The figures suggest a new record for Spain as a whole, and for Catalonia. In 2018, Catalonia received 8,000 applications, with another 6,000 so far this year.
CEAR called the asylum policy of the Pedro Sánchez executive a "great disappointment," accusing it of following the hardline policies of Europe's most rightwing governments.
Asylum system "overwhelmed"
In the report presented on Tuesday, CEAR details the difficulties in claiming political asylum in Spain and warns that the asylum system is "overwhelmed."
In 2018, Spain was the main entryway into Europe for people fleeing conflicts in their home countries, with 65,383 arriving by sea and land, triple the figure for 2017.
Spain also received 51% of the vessels carrying migrants and refugees that crossed the Mediterranean Sea, more than both Greece and Italy.
The figures mean Spain is the fourth EU country in terms of asylum applications, although the 54,046 applications are below those for Germany (185,853) and France (122,743).
Rise in number of rejected applications
Yet the increase in the number of applications is not necessarily reflected in the number of asylum cases that are finally granted protection.
As well as the increase in the number of cases waiting for a resolution, the number of applications that have been turned down have also risen.
Only one out of every four people were granted asylum, an 11% fall in the number granted the year before, and 14% below the EU average.
Most of the people granted asylum in Spain continue to come from Syria, although people from the Middle Eastern country are in third place in terms of the number of applications.
Asylum seekers from Venezuela come first, with 19,280 applications, almost double the number from the previous year, followed by Colombia, with 8,650 applications.