There were a total of 485 asylum seekers in Bulgaria in October 2018, up from 315 in October 2017, according to figures released on December 20 by EU statistics agency Eurostat.
In October 2018, there were 1800 people in Bulgaria with asylum applications pending, compared with 3100 in October 2017, according to Eurostat.b
During the third quarter of 2018, 146 900 first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in EU countries. This was an increase of four per cent compared with the second quarter of 2018, when 141 700 first-time applicants were registered.
With 21 200 first-time applicants between July and September 2018, Syrians remained the largest group of people seeking international protection in the EU member states. Syrians were ahead of Afghans (11 200 first-time applicants) and Iraqis (10 000).
In the third quarter of 2018, people from these countries comprised the three main citizenships of first-time asylum applicants in the EU member states, and accounted for 29 per cent of all first-time applicants.
During the third quarter of 2018, the highest number of first-time applicants was registered in Germany (with 42 000 first-time applicants, or 29 per cent of total first-time applicants in the EU Member States) and France (27 200, or 19 per cent), followed by Greece (16 700, or 11 per cent) and Spain (12 700, or nine per cent).
Among EU countries with more than 2 000 first-time asylum seekers in the third quarter of 2018, numbers of first-time applicants increased most compared with the previous quarter in Belgium (+54 per cent), Cyprus (+50 per cent), the Netherlands (+43 per cent) and in Sweden (+21 per cent). In contrast, the largest decreases were recorded in Italy (-34 per cent) and Spain (-22 per cent).
Compared with the population of each EU country, the highest rate of registered first-time applicants during the third quarter of 2018 was recorded in Cyprus (2484 first-time applicants per million inhabitants), followed by Greece (1552), Malta (1150) and Luxembourg (1093).
In contrast, the lowest rates were observed in Slovakia (five applicants per million inhabitants), Hungary (11) and Poland (20). In the third quarter of 2018, there were in total 286 first-time asylum applicants per million inhabitants in the EU as a whole.
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 September 2018, 873 300 applications for asylum protection in the EU countries were under consideration by the national authorities, a decrease of nine per cent compared with September 2017 and one per cent below the figure for June 2018.
With 396 800 pending applications at the end of September 2018, or almost half (45 per cent) of the EU total, Germany had the largest share in the EU, ahead of Italy (107 500, or 12 per cent of the EU total), Greece (67 700, or eight per cent) and Spain (66 600, or eight per cent), Eurostat said.
(Photo: DW/M Ilcheva)