Nearly 9,000 apply for refugee status in Greece

Asylum application in Greece have climbed to nearly 9,000 over the past 12 months, while 926 people were granted refugee status on their first application, authorities said on Monday.

Data released by the newly established Asylum Service, run by the Public Order Ministry, showed that a total of 8,945 people, including 430 unescorted minors, asked for protection between June 7, 2013 and May 31, 2014.

Official data put the recognition rate at 20.1 percent, which is near the European Union average.

The majority of applicants came from Syria, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia and the Palestinian territories.

Officials said applicants had to wait 122 days on average to have their claim processed by the authorities.