The number of asylum applications in the European Union plus Switzerland and Norway has declined significantly in the first four months of this year. This is shown by previously unpublished figures from the EU asylum authority Easo, which were made available to German daily Die Welt.
According to this, a total of 164 718 people applied for asylum from the beginning of January to the end of April – a decrease of 25 percent compared to the same period last year (221 207).
But on Tuesday Easo had warned of an increase in migrant numbers due to the resurgence of the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist militia in Syria and Iraq due to the Corona crisis. The suspension of operations by the anti-ISIS coalition against the militia due to the Corona pandemic “left a power vacuum that ISIS is trying to use,” the agency said.
Together with the spread of Covid-19 in the region, this could “lead to an increase in asylum-related migration in the medium term”. The main countries of origin for asylum seekers in Europe have far fewer hospital beds and doctors per capita to fight outbreaks. Combined with lack of access to hygiene facilities and crowded homes, this could increase the Corona impact and “affect future asylum trends”.
Easo announced at the end of April that applications for asylum in the EU in March this year had fallen by almost half compared to the previous month due to the Corona crisis. The agency attributed this to the containment measures taken by the national authorities against the virus, which, in addition to entry restrictions, also affected the work of asylum authorities when processing applications.
Unlike in the past, Germany is no longer at the top of the target countries this year: Between January and April most of the asylum applications were made in Spain (37 471) – by migrants from Colombia (32 percent of applications), Venezuela (32 percent) and Honduras (6,5 percent).
Germany is in second place with 33 714 asylum applications (23 percent of applications from Syrians, 9,3 percent from Iraqis, 7,7 percent from Afghans). France (28 710), Greece (21 153) and Italy are behind with only 8025 asylum applications in the first four months of the current year. Estonia is bottom of the list with 19 and Slovakia with 47 asylum applications this year.