A total of 685 people became first-time asylum-seekers in Bulgaria in the second quarter of 2017, EU statistics agency Eurostat said on September 22.
The three largest groups of first-time asylum applicants in Bulgaria during this time were from Syria, 235, and from Afghanistan and Iraq, 160 each.
Compared with Bulgaria’s overall population, this represents a proportion of 97 first-time asylum-seekers per million of population.
The number of first-time asylum-seekers in Bulgaria in the second quarter of 2017 represented 0.5 per cent of the EU total, of 149 000.
Eurostat said that the second quarter of 2017 was the third consecutive quarter that had seen a decrease in the number of first-time asylum-seekers.
The EU’s second-quarter figure was 11 per cent lower than in the first quarter of 2017, when 166 500 first-time applicants were registered.
With 21 100 first time applicants between April and June 2017, Syrians remained the main citizenship of people seeking international protection in the EU member states, ahead of Nigerians (9800 first time applicants), Afghans (9700), Iraqis (9300), Pakistanis (7300), Albanians (6000), Eritreans (5700) and Bangladeshis (5500). These eight citizenships accounted together for half of all first time applicants in the EU member states over the second quarter 2017.
During the second quarter of 2017, the highest number of first-time applicants was registered in Germany (with 42 100 first time applicants, or 28 per cent of total first-time applicants in the EU member states) and Italy (34 200, or 23 per cent), followed by France (21 200, or 14 per cent) and Greece (10 600, or seven per cent).
Among EU countries with more than 2000 first time asylum seekers in the second quarter 2017, numbers of first time applicants decreased most compared with the previous quarter in Greece (-36 per cent) and Germany (-14 per cent), ahead of the United Kingdom (-8 per cent), Belgium and Italy (both -7 per cent), the Netherlands and Austria (both -6 per cent).
Compared with the total population of each member state, the highest rate of registered first-time applicants during the second quarter 2017 was recorded in Greece (981 first time applicants per million inhabitants), followed by Malta (933), Luxembourg (887) and Cyprus (855).
In contrast, the lowest rates were observed in Slovakia (five applicants per million inhabitants), Poland (19), Portugal (25) and the Czech Republic (26). In the second quarter 2017, there were in total 291 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 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 June 2017, 958 300 applications for asylum protection in the EU member states were under consideration by the responsible national authorities, down by 13 per cent compared with June 2016.
With nearly 474 500 pending applications at the end of June 2017 (or half the EU total), Germany had the largest share in the EU, ahead of Italy (134 300), Sweden (67 000) and Austria (65 500), Eurostat said./IBNA