Eurostat: First-time asylum applicants down by almost 70% in Q2 2020


During the second quarter of 2020, some 46 500 first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the Member States of the European Union (EU). This was down by 69% compared with 150 100 recorded in the first quarter of 2020 and down by 68% compared with the second quarter of 2019 (143 700 applications). This sharp drop in asylum applications in the second quarter of 2020 in particular results from the COVID-19 emergency measures applied by the Member States starting from March 2020.

First-time asylum applicants in the EU Member States, 2014 2020

Most applications from citizens of Syria, Afghanistan and Venezuela

With 7 700 first-time applicants between April and June 2020, Syrians remained the largest group of persons seeking international protection in the EU Member States, 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 the second quarter of 2020.

First-time asylum applicants, top citizenships, Q2 2020

Most applicants for asylum in Germany, France and Spain

During the second quarter of 2020, the highest number of first-time asylum applicants was registered in Germany (with 14 200 first-time applicants, or 31% of all first-time applicants in the EU Member States), followed by France (8 900, or 19%), Spain (7 200, or 15%). These three Member States together recorded almost two-thirds (65%) of all first-time asylum applicants in the EU in the second quarter of 2020.

Highest number of first-time applicants relative to the population in Cyprus

Compared with the population of each Member State, the highest rate of registered first-time applicants during the second quarter of 2020 was observed in Cyprus (989 first-time applicants per million population), followed by Slovenia (441) and Greece (376). By contrast, the lowest rates were observed in Hungary and Poland (2 applicants per million population each) and Estonia (3 applicants per million population). In total in the EU as a whole, there were 104 first-time asylum applicants per million population in the second quarter of 2020.

842 000 asylum applications still pending in the EU Member States

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 2020, 841 600 applications for asylum protection in the EU Member States 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 2020, Germany had the largest share in the EU (34% of the EU total), ahead of France (161 800, or 19%) and Spain (118 000, or 14%). These three Member States together accounted for two-thirds (67%) of all pending applications in the EU at the end of June 2020.

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Note: The European Union (EU) includes 27 EU Member States. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Further information is published here.