Asylum applications in EU+ reached a new peak in October 2019

About 587 000 applications have been lodged in the EU+ since the beginning of 2019, up by 11 per cent from the same period last year, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) said.

The EU+ is composed of 28 EU member states plus Norway and Switzerland.

More than 71 000 applications were lodged in EU+ countries in October, the highest number since the end of 2016.

Afghanistan, Syria, Venezuela, Colombia and Pakistan were the top five countries of origin in October – each lodging record levels of applications, even compared to upward trends in the past few months.

In particular, Pakistanis lodged the most applications since the beginning of 2017, Afghans since late 2016, Venezuelans and Colombians since – at least – 2014.

Record applications were also lodged by nationals of Turkey, Bangladesh, Algeria, Congo (DR) and Moldova, among others.

About 52 725 decisions were issued at first instance, up by 13 per cent from September, the highest output in the past year and a half. This might be seen as an attempt to cope with the growing backlog.

However, despite these efforts there were still many more applications than case closures at first instance (including decisions, discontinuations due to withdrawals, plus administrative and Dublin closures).

At the end of September 2019, there were about 889 525 cases pending at all instances.

Of these, EASO estimates that about 517 100 cases were pending at first instance, indicating that even though a considerable part of the open cases had been transferred from asylum authorities to judicial bodies, the pressure was still higher at the first-instance authorities.

(Photo: Unicef/Tomislav Georgiev)



The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.