Bulgaria Surges as a Top Choice for EU Asylum Seekers

Politics | February 29, 2024, Thursday // 08:12
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Surges as a Top Choice for EU Asylum Seekers @Wikimedia Commons

In a recent report by the EU Asylum Agency, Bulgaria has emerged as one of the most popular destinations for migrants seeking asylum within the European Union. According to the agency's annual findings released on Wednesday, Bulgaria ranked eleventh among European countries in terms of asylum applications registered by its authorities in 2023.

The data revealed a significant surge in asylum applications across the EU, totaling more than 1.1 million individuals—an 18% increase compared to the previous year and nearing the levels observed during the major migration wave of the mid-2010s.

While Germany retained its status as the most preferred destination for asylum seekers, with one in three applicants aiming to stay there, Bulgaria attracted a notable share of migrants seeking refuge. Approximately 2% of all asylum applications in the EU, totaling 22,519, were registered in Bulgaria, highlighting the country's growing significance as a migration destination.

Despite its relatively smaller population, Bulgaria experiences significant migration pressure, ranking sixth in intensity among EU countries. The report indicated that migration per capita is most pronounced in Cyprus, Austria, and Greece, with Bulgaria following closely behind.

Syrian citizens constituted the largest group of asylum seekers in 2023, with over 181,000 individuals seeking European protection, followed by Afghan citizens with 114,000 applications. Notably, there was an 80% increase in requests from Turkish citizens, surpassing 101,000 applications.

While Syrians had the highest likelihood of being granted asylum in the EU, with over 80% of applications approved, Afghan and Turkish citizens also saw notable approval rates—61% and 25%, respectively.

Under European law, migrants arriving at European borders have the right to apply for asylum, necessitating the processing of applications by the first European country of entry. As such, Bulgaria and other EU nations must manage the influx of asylum seekers while ensuring the provision of humanitarian support until final decisions are made.

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Tags: Bulgaria, asylum seekers, EU, Migration

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