SPAIN has the most asylum claims out of all EU states.

According to data from the European Asylum Support Office, for the first time in its history, Spain is receiving more asylum claims than any other EU country.

Most of these claims are from Central and South American countries, such as Venezuela and Colombia.

Figures obtained by El Pais reveal that the Iberian country received 118,000 applications in 2019 and 3,500 weekly so far in 2020.

Spain didn’t reach figures as high as this, even during the height of the Syria crisis in 2015, when it didn’t even reach 15,000.

The previous record was reached in 1993, during the peak of the Balkan war.

Germany on the other hand, in 2015 received 500,000 applications.

Latin American migrants are at the top of the asylum claims because of the ongoing political crisis in Venezuela and because of gang violence in countries such as El Salvador and Honduras.

The historical, cultural and linguistic ties that these countries have with Spain, along with the stricter immigration laws imposed by the Trump administration, have caused the people fleeing these countries to look in this direction.

Blanca Garces-Mascarenas, a researcher at the Barcelona think tank CIDOB, said to El Pais: “To speak of asylum in Spain is to speak of Latin America.”

The exact figures are Venezuela (35%), Colombia (25%), Honduras (5.8%), Nicaragua (5%) and El Salvador (4%), different to the Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans arriving in Greece, Germany, France and Italy.

“Most of the asylum seekers in Spain do not flee a war in the traditional sense, but flee from structural violence,” continued Garces-Mascarenas.

Only 5% of these claims however end up getting accepted, putting Spain at the bottom of that respective EU list, along with Hungary.

The EU average on the other hand for accepted asylum claims is 30%.

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