Estonia was among the EU countries with the fewest first time asylum applications in 2020, data from the European Commission shows.
Hungary, Estonia and Poland saw the lowest number of claims submitted. The commission calculated the data per 100,000 people and on this ratio one claim was made in Hungary, three in Estonia and four in Poland.
The highest number per 100,000 people were submitted in Cyprus (841 claims), Malta (468) and Greece (354).
In the Baltic Sea region, eight applications were submitted per 100,000 in Latvia, nine in Lithuania, 26 in Finland and 131 in Sweden. Lithuania, Latvia and Poland will all see their figures rise in 2021 due to the migrant crisis on their borders with Belarus.
In 2020, the highest total number of first time applications were made in Germany (102,500), Spain (86,400), France (81,700), Greece (37,900) and Italy (21,200).
In 2020, asylum seekers came from nearly 150 countries. There were 472,000 asylum applications made, including 417,000 first time applications. This is a decrease of 32 perfcent in comparison to 2019.
A growing share of applicants came from visa-free countries (28 percent of first time applicants in 2020) who enter the EU legally, mostly from Venezuela, Colombia, Georgia, Peru and Honduras.
Overall, EU countries granted protection to around 280,000 people in 2020. The largest groups were from Syria (27 percent), Venezuela (17 percent) and Afghanistan (15 percent).
In the first half of this year, 248,000 asylum applications were lodged in the EU, of these 200,000 were first time applications. This is 12 percent more than in 2020 during the pandemic, but 26 percent fewer than in 2019 before coronavirus.
Editor: Helen Wright