Austria-bound refugees arrested in Romania

A group of Palestinian refugees detained in Romania said they were trying to reach Austria.Romanian border police put the five men aged between 23 and 25 into custody after they illegally crossed the border into Serbia near Jimbolia on Wednesday evening.Officials told the Romanian Times newspaper that the group planned to travel to Austria to seek political asylum in the country. Romanian authorities have not yet decided on whether the men will be sent back to Serbia.Austrian immigration officials meanwhile said the number of requests for asylum decreased from more than 15,800 in 2009 to around 11,000 in 2010. Austria has never before registered so few asylum appeals. The previous record-low was recorded in 2007 with around 11,900 requests.Around 20 per cent of refugees have been granted asylum in the country in the past years. This rate gives Austria a middling position among the European Union’s (EU) 27 member states in this regard. The Netherlands had the highest acceptance rate in 2009 at 48 per cent ahead of Denmark (48 per cent), while Greek officials rejected 99 per cent of requests for political asylum.