World Refugee Day is held every year on 20 June in tribute to the people forced to flee their country due to war, conflicts or poverty. Last year alone more than one million people fled to the EU by crossing the Mediterranean. Of these 3,3771 are reported missing or dead. Most of the refugees arriving in Europe - 38% - came from Syria. Check out our infographic to see how the situation evolved in each member state and the EU as a whole from 2011 to 2015.
Authorities make a distinction between refugees and asylum seekers. Refugees are defined as people who have a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group, forcing them to seek safety in a different country. One of the most fundamental principles laid down in international law is that refugees should not be expelled or returned to situations where their life and freedom would be at risk.
Asylum seekers are people who apply for the right to be recognised as a refugee and receive legal protection and material assistance. Asylum seekers must prove to the authorities that their fear of persecution in their home country is well founded.
Check out our infographic to find out more about the evolution of asylum applications in EU countries since 2011.