During the second quarter of 2017, 149 000 first time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the Member States of the European Union (EU), down by 11% compared with the first quarter of 2017 (when 166 500 first time applicants were registered). This is the third consecutive quarter of decrease in the number of first time asylum seekers in the EU.
Syrians, Nigerians, Afghans and Iraqis were the most numerous
With 21 100 first time applicants between April and June 2017, Syrians remained the main citizenship of people seeking international protection in the EU Member States, ahead of Nigerians (9 800 first time applicants), Afghans (9 700), Iraqis (9 300), Pakistanis (7 300), Albanians (6 000), Eritreans (5 700) and Bangladeshis (5 500). These eight citizenships accounted together for half of all first time applicants in the EU Member States over the second quarter 2017.
Over half applied for asylum either in Germany or in Italy
During the second quarter of 2017, the highest number of first time applicants was registered in Germany (with 42 100 first time applicants, or 28% of total first time applicants in the EU Member States) and Italy (34 200, or 23%), followed by France (21 200, or 14%) and Greece (10 600, or 7%). Among Member States with more than 2 000 first time asylum seekers in the second quarter 2017, numbers of first time applicants decreased most compared with the previous quarter in Greece (-36%) and Germany (-14%), ahead of the United Kingdom (-8%), Belgium and Italy (both -7%), the Netherlands and Austria (both -6%).
Highest number of first time applicants relative to the population in Greece
Compared with the total population of each Member State, the highest rate of registered first time applicants during the second quarter 2017 was recorded in Greece (981 first time applicants per million inhabitants), followed by Malta (933), Luxembourg (887) and Cyprus (855). In contrast, the lowest rates were observed in Slovakia (5 applicants per million inhabitants), Poland (19), Portugal (25) and the Czech Republic (26). In the second quarter 2017, there were in total 291 first time asylum applicants per million inhabitants in the EU as a whole.
Decreasing number of asylum applications still pending
Pending applications for international protection are those that have been made at any time and are still under consideration by the responsible 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. This statistic is meant to measure the workload of the national authorities.
At the end of June 2017, 958 300 applications for asylum protection in the EU Member States were under consideration by the responsible national authorities, down by 13% compared with June 2016. With nearly 474 500 pending applications at the end of June 2017 (or half the EU total), Germany had the largest share in the EU, ahead of Italy (134 300), Sweden (67 000) and Austria (65 500).
For more information
Eurostat website section on asylum and managed migration
Eurostat database on asylum and managed migration
Eurostat metadata on asylum applications statistics
Eurostat news release 46/2017 of 16 March 2017 on asylum applicants in 2016