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In no other EU country have so many asylum applications been made as in Germany

Germany continues to be the leader in the European Union when it comes to asylum applications.

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In no other EU country have so many asylum applications been made as in Germany

Germany continues to be the leader in the European Union when it comes to asylum applications. According to a confidential "situation report" by the EU Commission and the European External Action Service dated December 14, which is available to WELT, 190,749 people have applied for asylum in Germany since the beginning of the year - an increase of 57 percent compared to the same period last year. France (115,820), Spain (111,220), Austria (106,554) and Italy (78,897) follow.

The statistics also make it clear that the increase compared to 2021 was by far the strongest in Ireland. The number shot up by 439 percent to 12,804. Estonia recorded 2716 applications, an increase of 365 percent, followed by Austria with 202 percent.

Hungary (43), Slovakia (382) and Latvia (548) registered the fewest asylum applications. Ukrainians are largely not included in the statistics because they have not had to apply for asylum since March due to the war and special regulations.

Most asylum seekers in Germany this year came from Syria at 27 percent, followed by Afghanistan (17 percent), Turkey (ten percent), Iraq (6.9 percent) and Georgia (four percent).

The reasons for the significant differences in the number of applications with regard to the individual EU states are manifold: in addition to the geographical location, as in the case of Latvia, certain administrative regulations in countries such as Hungary are also responsible for this.

The Hungarian authorities are not interested in registering or even taking in the migrants - they simply wave those seeking protection through. Budapest is thus violating European asylum law – as are some other countries, such as Greece and Italy.

According to official information from the EU border protection agency Frontex, the most important route for illegal migration this year was the Western Balkans. A total of 308,000 irregular entries were detected at the EU's external borders by November - 45 percent of them via the Western Balkans.

The second most important migration route was the central Mediterranean. According to Frontex, there were almost 94,000 seizures there. The third most important route for illegal migration in 2022 was the Eastern Mediterranean with the countries of Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.

However, Greece struck an important blow against criminal smugglers this weekend: security forces were able to break up a gang of smugglers whose members are suspected of having systematically brought migrants from Greece to Western Europe. So far, 18 suspected members of the gang have been arrested.

According to the Greek authorities, the smugglers had brought organized migrants from the Greek-Turkish border river Evros to Athens in the past few months. The people were then hidden in the gang's accommodation and provided with fake passports for flights from Athens to Western Europe. According to the information, this cost up to 5,000 euros per person, depending on the quality of the forged documents.

According to the police, the smugglers also offered a “cheaper” route: The migrants could have alternatively started their journey from Athens over rough terrain to North Macedonia and continued from there. Cost in this case: 2000 euros.

Gangs of people smugglers keep bringing migrants across the Greek-Turkish border river Evros. If they succeed, the people will not be officially registered by the Greek authorities, so they can apply for asylum in another EU country if they succeed in continuing their journey.

"Kick-off Politics" is WELT's daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, among others, or directly via RSS feed.

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