The number of people subject to asylum applications in Bulgaria in August 2018 was 1510, down from 4655 in August 2017, according to figures released on September 26 by EU statistics agency Eurostat.
During the second quarter of 2018, 136 700 first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in EU countries, an increase of four percent compared with the first quarter of 2018, when 131 400 first-time applicants were registered, Eurostat said.
With 18 300 first-time applicants between April and June 2018, Syrians remained the largest group of people seeking international protection in the EU member states.
Syrians were ahead of Afghans (9200 first-time applicants), Iraqis (8400) and Venezuelans (7600). In the second quarter of 2018, people from these countries comprised the four main citizenships of first-time asylum applicants in the EU member states, accounting for almost one-third of all first-time applicants.
During the second quarter of 2018, the highest number of first-time applicants was registered in Germany (with 33 700 first-time applicants, or 25 percent of total first-time applicants in the EU member states) and France (26 100, or 19 percent), followed by Greece (16 300, or 12 percent) and Spain (16 200, or 12 percent).
Among member states with more than 2 000 first-time asylum seekers in the second quarter of 2018, numbers of first-time applicants decreased most compared with the previous quarter in Italy and Austria (both -23 percent) and in Belgium and Sweden (both -10 percent). In contrast, the largest increase was recorded in Spain (+85 percent) and in Greece (+26 percent).
Compared with the population of each member state, the highest rate of registered first-time applicants during the second quarter of 2018 was recorded in Cyprus (1656 first-time applicants per million population), followed by Greece (1521), Malta (889) and Luxembourg (703).
In contrast, the lowest rates were observed in Slovakia (eight applicants per million population), Estonia (11), Hungary (15) and Latvia (16). In the second quarter of 2018, there were in total 267 first-time asylum applicants per million population 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, Eurostat said.
At the end of June 2018, 885 500 applications for asylum protection in the EU member states were under consideration by the national authorities, a decrease of eight percent compared with June 2017 and less than one percent below the figure for March 2018.
With 410 600 pending applications at the end of June 2018, or almost half of the EU total (46 per cent), Germany had the largest share in the EU, ahead of Italy (131 900, or 15 per cent of the EU total) and Greece (60 500, or seven percent), Eurostat said.