Countries in the European Union and its associated countries received more than half a million asylum applications in the first half of 2023, marking a nearly 30 percent increase year on year, according to new data published on Sept. 4 by the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA).
Data from EUAA show that applications for asylum in the 27-nation bloc and associated countries Switzerland and Norway rose to 519,000 between January to the end of June this year, marking an approximately 28 percent increase compared to the first half of 2022.
The latest figures follow a significant 53 percent increase year over year in 2022. EUAA said it anticipates applications could exceed 1 million by the end of 2023.
Those numbers do not include the approximately 4 million Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion who are currently hosted under temporary protection provisions.
“As a result of the increase, many EU+ countries are under pressure with processing applications and protecting those in need,” the agency said.
“Accordingly, the number of cases awaiting decisions also increased by 34 percent from 2022,” it continued. “Together, these parallel trends pose significant challenges to EU+ asylum and reception systems authorities, so much so that by June 2023, the EUAA was offering operational assistance to 13 Member States.”
According to EUAA, Syrians continued to lodge the most applications for asylum in the EU+ between January and June of this year, continuing a trend that has been seen for several years.
In the first half of 2023, Syrian nationals lodged a total of 67,000 asylum applications, an increase of nearly 50 percent compared to the same period in 2022. That figure also marks the most amount of applications at this time of year since 2016.
More Russians Granted Protections
Germany continues to receive the most Syrian applications, processing roughly 62 percent of all applications in the first half of 2023, according to EUAA.
Along with Syrians, Afghans, Venezuelans, Turks, and Colombians lodged