The EU logged 213,000 new migrant arrivals in April, May and June but only 44,000 were seeking a new life in Europe after fleeing the Syrian civil war.
The latest figures from Eurostat, the EU’s official statistical agency, reveal migration from April to June was running at double the level of the same period in 2014 and the migrants came from places as far apart as Afghanistan, Bangladesh and South Sudan.
One cause of the spike is the number of Afghans lodging asylum claims. They are up four-fold, from 6,300 to 27,000. Another 17,700 claims were made by Albanians, whose country is not at war but does share a European border.
A further 13,900 applicants came from Iraq which, like neighbouring Syria, is being smashed by the Islamic State terrorists.
Half a million migrants have arrived in Europe so far this year, with 156,000 coming in August alone. Rather than claiming asylum in the first safe EU country they reach, which in most cases is Greece or Italy, most head on toward wealthy northern states. More than 250,000 migrants have reached those two countries alone before striking out on the overland trail to their EU haven of choice.
Elsewhere, the number of people applying for asylum for the first time in Norway shot up by 81 per cent between April and June, according to the Eurostat figures.
The increase was the steepest rise experienced by any European country except Latvia and The Netherlands, who report asylum applications rising by 123 per cent and 159 per cent respectively.
Norway’s neighbours, Finland and Denmark, also saw bigger increases of 67 per cent and 66 per cent respectively, while Sweden’s applications rose by 25 percent.
The oil rich Nordic nation is coming under increasing pressure to accept more refugees, with even the 2,760 applications received over the last three months only adding up to 534 per head of population, compared to 1,467 per head received by the neighbouring Swedes and 997 in Germany.
Conservative MP David Davies claimed the new Eurostat figures reveal “the lie peddled in some quarters that vast numbers of those reaching Europe are from Syria”.
Mr Davies said: “Most people who are escaping the war will go to camps in Lebanon or Jordan. Many of those who have opted to risk their lives to come to Europe have done so for economic reasons.”
The human tsunami is also putting pressure on national balance sheets.
The Daily Mail reports that Germany’s lead in housing hundreds of thousands of migrants heading to Europe could cost the country tens of billions of euros over the next two years, according to early private estimates.
The Japanese investment bank Mizuho was one of the first to put a number on it yesterday, saying that accepting up to one million refugees a year over the next two years could cost Berlin €25 billion although Germany has its own estimate and it is closer to the €100 billion mark.
That is derived from a basic calculation of €12,500 per migrant, according to Peter Chatwell, senior rates strategist at Mizuho. Part of the extra spending may have to be met by extra borrowing.