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Europe reports highest number of asylum seekers since pandemic began

Around 45,000 asylum applications were filed in the European Union, Norway and Switzerland in July, the highest number since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis.

Around 45,000 asylum applications were filed in the European Union, Norway and Switzerland in July, the highest number since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis.

The preliminary figures were announced by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) on Thursday. In June, around 40,600 people applied for protection status.

The Malta-based agency calculated that applications increased from Afghanistan in particular. In the month before the fall of the country to the radical Islamist Taliban and the dramatic weeks of evacuations, there were about 7,300; in June, 6,000 Afghans applied for asylum in the EU, Norway and Switzerland.

Most applications continue to come from Syria (around 8,500), according to EASO. Since December 2020, however, the gap in arrivals coming from Syria and Afghanistan has been narrowing fast.

Of the approximately 45,000 asylum seekers, 2,200 were unaccompanied minors, according to the analysis – with as many as 1,200 coming from Afghanistan. Applications from unaccompanied minors have not been registered in such numbers since November 2016.

While the number of applications increased in many countries, fewer applications were reported from some North and West African countries, including Mali, which recorded a large decrease in July with some 570 applications compared to about 1,000 in June.

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