BRUSSELS: The European Union’s asylum agency said on Wednesday that the number of people seeking asylum in Europe had reached a six-year high, with Syrian nationals again seeking international protection more than people from any other country.
The agency said around 98,000 asylum applications were lodged in September in the 27 EU member countries plus Norway and Switzerland, known together as EU+. People who come to Europe fleeing conflict or persecution are much more likely to be granted asylum than those fleeing poverty alone.
Some 15,500 Syrians have officially requested international protection, while 13,700 Afghans have applied. Afghans were the largest group of applicants each month since the Taliban took power in the summer of 2021.
Turkish nationals were the third largest group, with 5,800 applications in September, an all-time high for a country to which the EU has returned potential migrants. September also saw record levels of Indians, Bangladeshis, Tunisians, Georgians, Moroccans and Egyptians applying, the agency said.
At the same time, large numbers of people fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have continued to apply for Temporary Protected Status – which gives them short-term access to financial aid, housing and use.
The agency said “these simultaneous challenges have put the national systems of several EU+ countries under considerable pressure”.
More than a million people, mostly Syrians fleeing the conflict, entered the EU in 2015, overwhelming reception structures and triggering one of the biggest political crises in the bloc’s history. Around 173,000 monthly requests were recorded in the fall of that year, almost double the September level.
EU countries are still bickering over who should bear responsibility for people arriving without permission and whether their neighbors and partners should be forced to help.

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