There were nearly 240,000 asylum applicants registered in the European Union last year, or 480 applicants per one million inhabitants, Eurostat, the statistical service of the EU, said Friday.
The main countries of citizenship amongst the applicants were Iraq, Russia, Somalia, Serbia and Afghanistan. Applicants from those countries accounted for about 38 percent of the total.
In 2008, among the EU member states for which data was available, the highest number of applicants were registered in France (41,800 applicants), followed by Britain (30,500), Germany (26,900), Sweden (24,900), Greece (19,900), Belgium (15,900) and the Netherlands (15,300).
When compared with the population of each member state, the highest rates of applicants registered were recorded in Malta (6,350 applicants per million inhabitants), Cyprus (4,370), Sweden(2,710), Greece (1,775), Austria (1,530) and Belgium (1,495).