Number of Asylum Seekers Decreases Significantly
Prior to the pandemic, the number of applications had risen. Now it has declined. Nonetheless, Germany remains particularly popular for asylum seekers.
According to data from the EU statistical agency Eurostat, the number of asylum seekers in the European Union has fallen by around a third in 2020.
By the end of November, the EU statistical authority had reported 370,745 applications, compared with 675,535 in the previous year.
Germany remains the most popular destination for asylum seekers in Europe in 2020. Around 24 percent of all initial applications in Europe are made in Germany. Spain is second with almost 23 percent (70,655) of the applications. France is third with 19 percent (58,468). The three combined account for two-thirds of all initial asylum applications in the 27 EU states.
In contrast, Hungary registered the fewest asylum seekers in the EU with only 70 initial applications from January to September.
The reason for the decline in the number of asylum seekers is the corona crisis. Before the lockdown in March, an increase was noted. With the lockdown, the numbers collapsed dramatically. An average of 8.5 months passed between the application and the authority’s decision in an anchor center.
This situation is now creating controversy in Germany.
The anchor centers combine several authorities relevant to asylum procedures and are intended to accelerate the processes.
However, in light of the aforementioned 8,5 months, The Left has accused Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) of having a “disastrous balance sheet” when facilitating the processing of asylum applications.
The Left also criticizes that asylum seekers were “crammed into a very small space” in the centers and are thus cut off from “independent advisory structures and the supporting civil society”.
According to The Left, this model was “utterly wrong” not only in view of the need for the most decentralized accommodation possible in times of the corona pandemic.
Overall, according to an official government response to The Left, the average length of asylum procedures this year rose to 8.3 months, compared to 6.1 months in 2019. The Ministry of the Interior justifies this in its reply to The Left, primarily with the corona pandemic.
On the one hand, the pandemic had almost completely ceased the delivery of rejections due to the applicants’ inability to take legal action against decisions. On the other hand, many old cases were closed in 2020, driving up the cut in the procedure’s length, the government’s reply stated.