The number of first-time asylum applicants in Bulgaria was 82 per cent higher in the third quarter of 2016 than in the second quarter, rising to 6365 – almost half of the new applicants coming from Afghanistan, EU statistics agency Eurostat said on December 15.
Of the first-time applicants in the third quarter of 2016, a total of 3145 were from Afghanistan, 1365 (21 per cent) from Iraq and 810 (13 per cent) from Pakistan, Eurostat said.
The number of first-time asylum applicants represented 1.8 per cent of the EU total.
Per million inhabitants of Bulgaria, the number added up to 890 – above the EU average of 702.
Eurostat said that in the third quarter of 2016, the number of first-time asylum seekers in the EU was close to 360 000.
This was an increase of 17 per cent over the second quarter of 2016.
From January to September 2016, more than 950 000 first-time asylum seekers were registered in EU countries.
With 87 900 first time applicants between July and September 2016, Syrians remained the main citizenship of people seeking international protection in the EU member states, ahead of Afghans (62 100 first time applicants) and Iraqis (36 400). They represent the three main citizenships of first-time asylum applicants in the EU member states over the third quarter 2016, accounting for slightly more than half of all first-time applicants.
During the third quarter of 2016, the highest number of first-time applicants was registered in Germany (with more than 237 400 first time applicants, or 66 per cent of total first time applicants in the EU countries), followed by Italy (34 600, or 10 per cent), France (20 000, or six per cent), Greece (12 400, or four per cent), the United Kingdom (9200, or three per cent) and Austria (8400, or two per cent).
Among EU countries with more than 2000 first-time asylum seekers in the third quarter 2016, numbers of first time applicants rose most compared with the previous quarter in Bulgaria (+82 per cent), the Netherlands (+72 per cent), Belgium (+29 per cent), Italy (+28 per cent) and Germany (+27 per cent). In contrast, the largest decreases were recorded in Hungary (-73 per cent), Poland (-37 per cent) and Austria (-22 per cent).
Compared with the population of each EU country, the highest rate of registered first time applicants during the third quarter 2016 was recorded in Germany (2890 first time applicants per million inhabitants), followed by Greece (1152) and Malta (1091).
In contrast, the lowest rates were in Slovakia (seven applicants per million inhabitants), Portugal (19), Romania (22), the Czech Republic (28) and Estonia (30).
In the third quarter 2016, there were in total 702 first-time asylum applicants per million inhabitants in the EU as a whole.
Syria (25 per cent of the total number of first-time applicants) remained during the third quarter of 2016 the main country of citizenship of asylum seekers in EU countries.
Of the 87 900 Syrians who applied for the first time for asylum in the EU in the third quarter 2016, 81 per cent were registered in Germany (71 200).
Syrians represented the main citizenship of asylum seekers in 11 EU member states.
Afghanistan (17 per cent of the total number of first time applicants) was the second main country of citizenship of asylum seekers in the EU member states in the third quarter 2016.
Of the 62 100 Afghans seeking asylum protection for the first time in EU countries during the period July-September 2016, more than 80 per cent applied in Germany (50 500).
Afghans represented the main citizenship of asylum seekers in five EU member states, including Bulgaria.
With 36 400 first-time applicants (or 10 per cent of the EU total) during the third quarter 2016, Iraq was the third country of citizenship of asylum seekers in the EU countries. Eighty-two per cent were registered in Germany (29 900).
At the end of September 2016, almost 1.2 million applications for asylum protection in the EU member states were under consideration by the responsible national authorities.
A year earlier, at the end of September 2015, there were about 866 000.
With nearly 689 700 pending applications at the end of September 2016 (or 58 per cent of the EU total), Germany had by far the largest share in the EU, ahead of Sweden (112 000, or nine per cent), Austria (81 400, or seven per cent) and Italy (81 300, or seven per cent)./IBNA