EU asylum applications dropped to pre-immigration levels

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European Union (EU) statistics office said on Thursday that requests for political asylum in EU countries dropped last year to pre-immigration levels in Europe in 2015.

These results confirm a decline recorded by the European Frontier Control Agency (Frontex), whose estimates showed that some 150,000 people entered the European Union last year, the lowest number in 5 years and well below the 2015 peak of more than 1 million.

The year 2015 saw the highest increase in the number of immigrants since the Second World War as a result of the influx of refugees from the Syrian civil war and an increase in numbers from other regions of the Middle East and Africa experiencing conflicts and hardship.

At the height of the crisis, the number of asylum seekers for the first time in the European Union exceeded 1.2 million. Eurostat said the number of asylum seekers for the first time dropped in 2018 to about 580,000 people, down 11 percent from 2017 in a return to pre-crisis levels in 2014.

Germany remained the main destination for asylum seekers last year, followed by France, Greece, Spain and Italy. Italy recorded the largest decline in asylum applications last year after the participation of an anti-immigration party in the ruling coalition.

Eurostat data revealed that Syrians still make up the largest number of asylum seekers, more than half of the total number registered in Germany, followed by Afghans and Iraqis.