The number of asylum applicants increased in the majority of EU countries in July to September 2021 compared with the same period of 2020, but those bordering Belarus saw the largest proportional rises as a result of the Lukashenko regime's human trafficking hybrid operation. The graph below speaks volumes about the size of that operation, with Lithuania seeing a rise of more than 3,000 per cent, Latvia of more than 1,000 per cent and Poland more than 800 per cent.
Data show 35 first-time asylum applicants in Latvia in July-Sep 2020 against 465 in July-Sep 2021: an increase of 1,194 %.
In July-Sep 2021, nearly three quarters (74%) of applicants to Latvia came from Iraq, and 10% came from Afghanistan.
In the three month period from July to September 2021, there were some 155 500 first-time asylum applicants for international protection in countries of the EU. This was up by 38 % when compared with the same period of the previous year, and up by 48 % when compared with the previous quarter of 2021.
The number of first-time asylum applicants in the EU accounted for a large majority (87 %) of the total number of asylum applicants recorded in July to September 2021.
Germany was the country with the largest absolute increase in the number of first-time applicants, followed by Italy, France and Austria. By contrast, the number of asylum seekers decreased in Spain, followed by Greece, Sweden, Malta and Luxembourg.
With 13 800 first-time applicants registered in September 2021, Germany accounted for nearly one quarter (23%) of all first-time applicants in the EU. This was closely followed by France (12 800, or 21%), ahead of Italy (6 300, or 10%) and Spain (6 200, or 10%). These four Member States together accounted for almost two-thirds of all first-time applicants in the EU.
Lithuania, Poland and Italy recorded the largest relative increases in first-time asylum seekers in September 2021 compared with September 2020 (1 011%, 772% and 493% respectively).