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Record number of over 1.2 million first time asylum seekers in EU

Staff writer |
In 2015, 1,255,600 first time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the Member States of the European Union (EU), a number more than double that of the previous year.

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The number of Syrians seeking international protection has doubled in 2015 compared with the previous year to reach 362,800, while the number of Afghans has almost quadrupled to 178,200 and that of Iraqis has multiplied by 7 to 121,500.

They represent the three main citizenships of first time asylum applicants in the EU Member States in 2015, accounting for more than half of all first time applicants.

In 2015, the highest number of first time applicants was registered in Germany (with 441 800 first time applicants, or 35% of all first time applicants in the EU Member States), followed by Hungary (174 400, or 14%), Sweden (156 100, or 12%), Austria (85 500, or 7%), Italy (83 200, or 7%) and France (70 600, or 6%).

Compared with the previous year, the number of first time asylum applicants in 2015 increased the most in Finland (+822%), ahead of Hungary (+323%), Austria (+233%), Belgium (+178%), Spain (+167%) and Germany (+155%).

Compared with the population of each Member State, the highest number of registered first time applicants in 2015 was recorded in Hungary (17 699 first time applicants per million inhabitants), ahead of Sweden (16 016), Austria (9 970), Finland (5 876) and Germany (5 441).

In contrast, the lowest numbers were observed in Croatia (34 applicants per million inhabitants), Slovakia (50), Romania (62), Portugal (80) and Lithuania (93). In 2015, there were on average 2 470 first time asylum applicants per million inhabitants in the EU Member States.


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