The highest number of registered first-time asylum applicants in the EU during the third quarter of 2018 relative to the population was recorded in Cyprus, a new Eurostat report has revealed.
The number is 2,484 per million inhabitants. Next are Greece and Malta with 1,442 and 1,150 per million inhabitants respectively.
In contrast, the lowest rates were observed in Slovakia, five applicants per million inhabitants, Hungary (11) and Poland (20). In the third quarter of 2018, there were in total 286 first-time asylum applicants per million inhabitants in the EU as a whole.
Among member states with more than 2,000 first-time asylum seekers in the third quarter of 2018, numbers of first-time applicants increased most compared with the previous quarter in Belgium (+54 per cent), Cyprus (+50 per cent) and the Netherlands (+43 per cent). In contrast, the largest decreases were recorded in Italy (-34 per cent) and Spain (-22 per cent).
By the end of September this year, the number of asylum applications in Cyprus had reached 8,245, while at the same time last year it was nearly half, at 4,300.
During the third quarter of 2018, the highest number of first-time applicants was registered in Germany (with 42,000 first-time applicants, or 29 per cent of total first-time applicants in the EU member states) and France (27,200, or 19 per cent), followed by Greece (16,700, or 11 per cent).
With 21,200 first-time applicants between July and September 2018, Syrians remained the largest group of persons seeking international protection in the EU. Syrians were ahead of Afghans (11,200 first-time applicants) and Iraqis (10,000). In the third quarter of 2018, people from these countries comprised the three main citizenships of first-time asylum applicants in the EU member states, and accounted for 29 per cent of all first-time applicants.
During the third quarter of 2018, 146,900 first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the EU, an increase of 4 per cent compared with the second quarter of 2018, when 141,700 first-time applicants were registered.