1.2 million seek asylum in EU in 2016, Germany taking the brunt

In 2016, 1,204,300 first time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the member states of the European Union, a slight fall on 2015 (1,257,000) but almost double that of 2014 (562,700).

Syrians (334,800 first time applicants), Afghans (183,000) and Iraqis (127,000) led the statistics of people seeking asylum in EU countries in 2016, accounting for slightly more than half of all first time applicants.

Data on asylum applicants in the EU are issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

6 in 10 applied for asylum in Germany

With 722,300 first time applicants registered in 2016, Germany recorded 60% of all first time applicants among EU member states. Germany was followed by Italy (121,200, or 10%), France (76,000, or 6%), Greece (49,900, or 4%), Austria (39,900, or 3%) and the United Kingdom (38,300, or 3%).

Compared with the population of each country, the highest number of registered first time applicants in 2016 was recorded in Germany (8,789 first time applicants per million inhabitants), ahead of Greece (4,625), Austria (4,587), Malta (3,989), Luxembourg (3,582) and Cyprus (3,350). In contrast, the lowest numbers were observed in Slovakia (18 applicants per million inhabitants), Portugal (69), Romania (94), the Czech Republic and Estonia (both 114). In 2016, there were a total of 2,360 first time asylum applicants per million inhabitants in the EU as a whole.

A million asylum applications pending at the end of 2016

Pending applications for international protection are those that have been made at any time and are still under consideration by the responsible 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. This statistic is meant to measure the workload of the national authorities.

At the end of 2016, 1,094,100 applications for international protection in EU countries were still under consideration by the responsible national authorities. At the end of 2015, there were 1,002,400. With 601,900 pending applications at the end of 2016 (or 55% of the EU total), Germany had the largest share in the EU, ahead of Italy (99,900, or 9%), Sweden (83,000, or 8%) and Austria (77,400, or 7%).