Malta received the second highest proportion of 'first time’ asylum applications per capita in the EU last year, according to figures released on Friday.  

In a statement, Brussels’ statistical agency Eurosat said that the highest number of registered first-time applicants in 2019 relative to the population was recorded in Cyprus (14 495 first-time applicants per million), ahead of Malta (8,108), Greece (6,985) and Luxembourg (3,585). 

In contrast, the lowest numbers were recorded in Slovakia (39 applicants per million population), Hungary (48), Poland (73), Estonia (76) and Latvia (93). 

In 2019, in the EU as a whole, there were 1,371 first-time asylum applicants per million population.

Around 840 000 asylum applications pending at the end of 2019

Eurostar said that at the end of 2019, 842,500 applications for international protection in the EU were still under consideration by the national authorities. At the end of 2018, this figure was slightly higher (851 000). 

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Pending applications for international protection are applications that have been made at any time and are still under consideration by the national authorities.

In other words, they refer to the number of asylum seekers waiting for a decision at the end of the year. 

This statistic is also intended to measure how the national authorities are facing the workload implied by the arrival of asylum applicants in the Member States. 

Germany had the largest share of applications pending in the EU at the end of 2019 (326,800, or 39% of the EU total), ahead of Spain (133,000, or 16%), Greece (105,400, or 13%), France (74,400, or 9%) and Italy (47,000, or 6%).

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