EU asylum applications drop due to COVID, not lower demand

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s asylum agency says the number of people seeking international protection in Europe hit its lowest level last year since 2013. But EASO says the drop was due mostly to coronavirus travel restrictions, not any real slump in people needing help. EASO’s new report released Tuesday shows that 485,000 asylum applications were made in the 27 EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland in 2020. That’s a 32% decrease over the previous year. Two-thirds of the applications were lodged in Germany, France and Spain. Syrian and Afghan nationals topped the list Europe-wide.