A new report says applications for asylum in the European Union increased 16.2 in 2011 over the previous year, in part because of turmoil surrounding the Arab Spring uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East.
The report, issued Friday by the European Commission, the EU's executive branch, says just over 302,000 people applied for asylum in 2011. That is still far fewer than the peak of 425,000 applications received in 2001.
The commission also says that 80 percent of EU citizens surveyed agree that EU countries should offer protection and asylum to those in need. The same proportion believes asylum rules should be the same among all EU countries.
Cecelia Malmstrom, EU commissioner for Home Affairs, says the findings show the EU "needs a strong and coherent migration policy."