Cyprus Mail

Cyprus top in asylum applicants relative to population in EU

Pournara reception centre

Cyprus recorded the highest rate of registered first-time asylum seekers relative to population in the EU in the third quarter of 2020 with 1,848 first-time applicants per million population according to the latest figures issued by Eurostat.

Malta came second (1,320) and Greece third (799). In contrast, the lowest rates were observed in Hungary (1 applicant per million population), Poland (8) and Estonia (9). In total, there were 249 first-time asylum applicants per million population in the EU in Q3 2020.

The highest number of first-time applicants in Q3 2020 was registered in Germany, with 27,200 first-time asylum applicants, or 24 per cent of total first-time applicants in the EU Member States, followed by Spain (26,900, or 24 per cent) and France (21,700, or 19 per cent). These three member states together accounted for over two-thirds (68 per cent) of all first-time asylum applicants in the EU in Q3 2020.

During the third quarter of 2020, some 111,700 first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the member states of the European Union, according to the report. This was up by 132 per cent compared with the second quarter of 2020. However, in spite of this increase, the number of applications was still lower than for the pre-Covid-19 reporting periods of the third (159,900) and the fourth quarter of 2019 (172,200).

With 18,100 first-time applicants in Q3 2020, Syrians remained the largest group of persons seeking international protection in the EU member states, ahead of Afghans (11,200 first-time applicants) and Venezuelans (9,600). Citizens of these countries comprised the three main citizenships of first-time asylum applicants in the EU countries, and accounted for over one-third (35 per cent) of all first-time asylum applicants in Q3 2020.


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