In EU, asylum applicants jump to 213,000 in three months | News | DW | 18.09.2015

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In EU, asylum applicants jump to 213,000 in three months

In the second quarter of 2015, more than 210,000 first time asylum seekers have applied in the EU, reported Eurostat. More than one out of three applied in Germany, also the country with the biggest backlog to process.

The EU's statistical office Eurostat reported on Friday that at least 213,000 people applied for asylum in the EU for the first time, an 85-percent increase compared to the the second quarter of 2015. The total was also a 15-percent jump from the first quarter figures of 2015.

Refugees from Syria (21 percent of the total), Afghanistan (13 percent) and Albania (8 percent) were the largest three groups of applicants.

"In particular, the number of Syrians and Afghans rose considerably to reach almost 44,000 and 27,000 respectively. They represent the two main citizenships of first time asylum seekers in the EU over the second quarter 2015, accounting for a third of all first time applicants," Eurostat reported.

Germany, Hungary at top

Germany also witnessed the highest number of first time applicants with more than 80,000 applications in three months. The total comprises more than one third of all applications made in the EU.

Following Germany, Hungary had the second highest number of applications with 32,700, making up around 15 percent of the total in EU.

The data also showed that Hungary - criticized for its responses to the migrants' arrival like closing borders and building fences - was facing the largest influx when compared to population size. The eastern European country had the highest number of "first time applicants relative to the population," with 3,317 per million inhabitants.

Slovakia, Croatia and Romania had the lowest tallies when compared to its population.

Coping with mass influx

Meanwhile, Germany had the largest backlog with 52 percent of all pending applications in the EU, or 305,800. In total, the EU's statistics office logged almost 600,000 people waiting for a decision on their asylum status.

"At the end of June 2015, around 592,000 persons were the subject of an application for asylum protection in the EU still under consideration by the responsible national authority," stated the report.

The Netherlands recorded the highest jump from the first quarter of 2015 with a 159-percent increase comparatively.

Europe is struggling to address its most challenging refugee crisis since World War II, with thousands of asylum seekers and migrants entering the EU daily.

ls/msh (AP, AFP, dpa)