Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, has published details on the number of asylum applications received by EU Member States during the third quarter of 2016.

The figures show that between July and September this year, 358,300 first time asylum seekers applied for international protection, which is an increase of 17% compared with the second quarter of 2016, when 305,700 first time applications were received.

Syria was the main citizenship of people seeking international protection, with 87,900 first time applications, followed by Afghanistan (62,100) and Iraq (36,400). These three countries between them account for just over half of all first time applicants.  

During the quarter, the highest number of first time applicants were registered in Germany  (with over 237,400 first time applicants, or 66% of all first time applicants in the EU Member States), followed by Italy (34,600, or 10%), France (20,000, or 6%), Greece (12,400, or 4%), the United Kingdom (9,200, or 3%) and Austria (8,400, or 2%).

The EU countries with more than 2,000 first time asylum seekers that saw the biggest increases in first time asylum applications compared to the previous quarter were Bulgaria (+82%), the Netherlands (+72%), Belgium (+29%), Italy (+28%) and Germany (+27%). In contrast, the largest decreases were recorded in Hungary (-73%), Poland (-37%) and Austria (-22%). 

At the end of September 2016, almost 1.2 million applications for asylum protection in the EU Member States were still pending, i.e. under consideration by the responsible national authorities. This is a sharp increase over the 866,000 that were pending at the same time last year.

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