The number of asylum applications in the European Union skyrocketed in 2022 compared to the previous year, with Austria recording the highest percentage increase of the bloc’s 27 member states, according to a confidential report on migration and asylum seeker situation obtained by German newspaper Welt Am Sonntag.
The report, published by the EU Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, revealed that the number of asylum applications submitted across the 27 EU countries increased to 923,911 last year, up from 630,890 the previous year, representing an increase of 46.5%, the Berlin-based newspaper Der Tagesspiegel reports.
The EU Commission’s “situation report” cites previously unpublished figures from the European Asylum Support Office (EUAA) from January 4th, 2023.
Per the EUAA figures, Germany, the bloc’s most populous country, registered by far the most asylum applications, at 226,467, the highest number the country recorded since the European Migrant Crisis of 2016, as The European Conservative previously reported. France, Spain, and Austria saw the second, third, and fourth-highest asylum applications in the bloc, registering 154,597, 166,952, and 108,490, respectively.
As has been witnessed in the years past, the vast majority of asylum seekers who arrived in Germany originated from the Middle East. Every third applicant came from Syria, followed by Afghanistan (17%), Turkey (10%), and Iraq (6.7%). Additionally, approximately five million Ukrainian refugees, all of whom were not forced to go through the traditional asylum process, have sought “temporary protection” in Germany.
Austria, however, with its population of just under nine million, witnessed the largest percentage increase of any EU member state, logging 108,490 asylum applications last year compared to 39,930 registered in 2021. The number, therefore, nearly tripled year over year.
Popular support for Austria’s governing coalition, comprised of the center-Right People’s Party (ÖVP) and the left-liberal Greens, has plummeted due to, among other things, its inability to control migration. At the same time, the conservative, anti-globalist Freedom Party (FPÖ)–which has called for stricter border measures, increased deportations of those residing in the country illegally, and tougher asylum policies—has seen its popularity increase precipitously over the past months. The FPÖ, as the latest polls have revealed, is now the leading party in Austria.
Meanwhile, Austria’s neighbor to the east, Hungary, whose national-conservative government maintains tough immigration laws, saw the fewest asylum applications in the bloc, at a mere 46. Slovakia and Latvia registered the second and third lowest numbers, at 544 and 622, respectively.