Cyprus has EU’s highest ratio of asylum seekers

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For its size, Cyprus had the highest rate of registered first-time asylum applicants in the EU during the second quarter of 2020 with 989 per million population, followed by Slovenia (441) and Greece (376), according to Eurostat.

Cyprus is handling nearly 10 times the EU average in first-time claims.

The majority of first-time asylum seekers in Cyprus were from Syria (18%), Bangladesh (14%) and Pakistan (14%).

Cyprus is seeking to fast-track its asylum process to reduce the backlog.

It has also called for more EU help as it has become a “frontline” state in tackling irregular migration.

In the EU as a whole, there were 104 first-time asylum applicants per million population in Q2 2020.

By contrast, the lowest rates were observed in Hungary and Poland (2 applicants per million population each) and Estonia (3).

During Q2, some 46,500 first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the EU.

This was down by 69% compared with 150,100 recorded in Q1 2020 and down by 68% compared with Q2 2019 (143,700 applications).

This sharp drop in asylum applications in Q2 resulted from the COVID-19 emergency measures applied by the Member States from March.

Most applications

With 7,700 first-time applicants between April and June, Syrians remained the largest group seeking international protection in the EU, followed by Afghans (4,200 first-time applicants) and Venezuelans (3,000).

Citizens of these countries accounted for almost one-third (32%) of all first-time asylum applicants in Q2.

The highest number of first-time asylum applicants was registered in Germany (14,200, or 31%), followed by France (8,900, or 19%), Spain (7,200, or 15%).

These three countries together recorded almost two-thirds (65%) of all first-time asylum applicants in the EU.

 Still pending

Pending applications for international protection are those that have been made at any time and are still under consideration by the relevant national authorities at the end of the reference period.

In other words, they refer to the “stock” of applications for which decisions are still pending.

At the end of June, 841,600 applications for asylum protection in the EU were under consideration by the national authorities, a decrease of 9% compared with both June 2019 and March 2020.

With 282,900 pending applications at the end of June, Germany had the largest share in the EU (34% of the total), ahead of France (161,800, or 19%) and Spain (118,000, or 14%).

These three states together accounted for two-thirds (67%) of all pending applications in the EU at the end of June.