asylum seekers

The EU statistics agency Eurostat said on Thursday that the number of people who filed first-time asylum applications in the EU has dropped to 287,085 in the first three months of this year.

The new data showed that Germany remained the preferred destination for migrants.

Europe had struggled last year with a migration surge that brought more than 1 million people to its shores.

European leaders succeeded in disrupting key sea route used by the migrants from Turkey to Greece in March by negotiating migration-stemming deal with Ankara.

Eurostat said that first-time asylum applications to the EU decreased in the first quarter of 2016, dropping 33 per cent when compared to the last quarter of 2015.

Almost 40 per cent of the applicants were from Syria, while Iraq and Afghanistan each made up 12 per cent.

More than 60 per cent of the first-time applications were recorded in Germany, Eurostat said.

Italy was in second place with 8 per cent, followed by France with 6 per cent, Austria with 5 per cent and Britain with 4 per cent.

While crossings from Turkey to Greece have decreased significantly, migrant crossings over the Central Mediterranean to Italy had picked up again after a winter lull.

The number of migrants arriving in Italy more than doubled in May, reaching around 19,000, the EU border agency Frontex said on Wednesday.

It warned that there might be rise in departures from Egypt.

Most crossings had so far been attempted from Libya.

In spite of the May increase, the arrivals in Italy during the first five months of this year remain on par with the same period last year.

Author: Cerebral Lemon