Germany no longer top destination for asylum seekers in Europe

Germany no longer top destination for asylum seekers in Europe

Germany no longer top destination for asylum seekers in Europe

The number of asylum seekers arriving in the European Union decreased significantly in the first quarter of 2020. Spain has overtaken Germany as the country receiving the most asylum applications - suggesting that the coronavirus epidemic is shifting long-standing migration patterns. 

Asylum applications in Europe down 25 percent 

The number of asylum applications submitted to EU member states, Switzerland and Norway went down by 25 percent in the first four months of 2020, Die Welt reported last week, citing as-yet unpublished numbers from the EU’s asylum agency EASO. 

From the beginning of January to the end of April, a total of 164.718 asylum applications were submitted. During the same period in 2019, more than 220.000 applications were received. This year, Spain received the most applications (37.471) - mostly from migrants from Colombia, Venezuela and Honduras. 

Venezuela in particular has long been suffering from shortages of basic necessities like food, medicine and fuel. The price of food has increased by nearly 80 percent under the coronavirus lockdown and some 70 percent of doctors have already emigrated from the country. One in five hospitals does not have an adequate water supply. 

Germany second-top destination for asylum seekers

The uptick in migration from Latin America means that Germany - traditionally the top destination in Europe for asylum seekers - fell in the first quarter of the year to second place, with 33.714 applications, of which 23 percent came from Syria, 9,3 percent from Iraq and 7,7 percent from Afghanistan.

The next top destinations included France with 28.710 applications, Greece (21.153) and Italy (8.025). 

Coronavirus pandemic could cause rise in asylum applications

EASO announced at the end of April that asylum applications in the EU had almost halved in March due to travel restrictions enacted to curb the virus outbreak. However, the organisation also warned that the number of refugees coming to Europe is also likely to rise significantly in the medium-term, as coronavirus outbreaks in the Middle East and North Africa could lead to food shortages.

Additionally, the suspension of international military operations against the so-called Islamic State (IS) during the pandemic has left a power vacuum in Iraq and Syria. There are worries that this could lead to a resurgence of IS, prompting an “increase in asylum-related migration” over the coming months. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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