Between January and April of this year, Spain has seen the most asylum applications in the European Union, overtaking Germany and France as migrant arrivals from Central and South America soar.
Spain saw a total of 37,471 asylum applications from January to April with the largest groups of asylum seekers originated in Colombia, Venezuela and Honduras, while Germany saw 33,714 asylum applications with 23 per cent of the applications coming from individuals claiming to be Syrian nationals, 9.3 per cent from Iraqis and 7.7 from Afghanis.
The two countries were followed by France with 28,710 asylum claims, Greece with 21,153 claims and Italy which saw 8,025. Estonia and Slovakia received the lowest number of claims with just 19 and 47 respectively, Die Welt reports.
The numbers were published by the European Union asylum authority Easo which revealed that the political bloc, plus Switzerland, saw 164,718 asylum claims between January and April, a 25 per cent decrease from the year before.
A cargo ship unloaded 79 migrants to the island of Sicily as Italy sees a rise in illegal immigration and the European Union border agency Frontex warns of a surge of migrants heading toward Greece. https://t.co/zT1OumuZSB
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 12, 2020
While Easo has noted a decline in numbers, largely due to the coronavirus and the various lockdowns initiated by countries across the globe, it warned that the Wuhan coronavirus could lead to a surge in migration numbers in the medium term as countries outside of the EU may struggle to cope with cases of the virus, prompting more people to leave.
The authority also warned that the Islamic State terror group could see a resurgence as operations against them have largely been postponed or halted due to the pandemic and that could also lead to a rise in asylum seeker numbers.
Italy, which also initially saw a reduction in migrant arrivals due to the coronavirus, has seen a fresh wave in recent weeks both along the Mediterranean migrant route to the island of Lampedusa and Sicily and across the northern border with Slovenia.
In Greece, there have also been warnings from the Greek government that migrants may once again attempt to storm their border with Turkey in the coming weeks.