EU asylum applications drop due to COVID, not lower demand

The European Union’s asylum agency says the number of people seeking international protection in Europe hit its lowest level last year since 2013

The European Asylum Support Office, or EASO, said in a new report that 485,000 asylum applications were made in the 27 EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland in 2020. That’s a 32% decrease over the previous year.

It said that “reduced applications were primarily due to restricted mobility and travel, rather than a decrease in the number of people in need of international protection.”

But EASO said that when economic growth and population size are taken into account, Cyprus, Greece and Malta remain under the greatest pressure to process applications and house asylum-seekers.

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