What evolution of asylum policies in European countries since 2015?
In 2019, which European country received the highest number of first-time asylum applications in proportion to its population?
According to the European Commission’s Eurostat database, 14,495 first-time asylum seekers per million inhabitants arrived in Cyprus in 2019. As in 2018, the country received the highest number of asylum seekers in relation to its population in the EU, ahead of Malta with 8,108 first-time asylum seekers per million inhabitants and Greece with 6,985. At the bottom of the ranking are Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, with 73, 48 and 39 asylum seekers per million inhabitants respectively.
This ratio highlights the impact of these arrivals on Member States and puts into perspective the issues of reception and care of asylum seekers at the national level. Indeed, the ranking per capita appears to be quite different from the ranking of states according to the absolute number of persons received. While in 2019 Germany was at the top of this ranking (with 23 % of all first-time applications for asylum in the EU), followed by France (20 %) and Spain (19 %), these countries received 1,716, 1,789 and 2,454 first-time asylum seekers per million inhabitants respectively in the same year, much less than the smaller countries Cyprus, Malta and Greece. In 2019, in the 28 EU Member States, an average of 1,371 first-time asylum applications per million inhabitants were submitted.
In comparison, in 2015, Germany accounted for 35 % of all asylum applications in the EU, followed by Hungary (14 %) and Sweden (12 %). Relative to its population, Hungary had received the highest number of asylum-seekers: 17,699 applicants per million inhabitants, ahead of Sweden (16,016) and Austria (9,970).
 According to the Eurostat definition, a first-time asylum seeker is a person, who for the first time has lodged an application for international protection or has been included in such an application as a family member.