The number of refugees and asylum seekers in the European Union has increased significantly in the past 1.5 years. This is shown by Statista calculations based on data from the UN refugee agency UNHCR. While some countries that had already taken in many refugees and asylum seekers accepted more, countries in Eastern Europe saw refugee numbers rise from formerly very low levels due to the war in Ukraine.
Austria and Germany, two countries having received a high number of refugees in the past, saw levels rise by 60 to 70 percent over the respective time period. However, the relative number of refugees is now higher in Poland and the Czech Republic than in the former two countries, increasing from formerly fewer than one refugee or asylum seeker per 1,000 inhabitants. The island of Cyprus remains far ahead of other EU countries for the number of refugees compared to population. The island is one of the loopholes along the otherwise closed EU border, as the Turkish-controlled north creates a little patrolled, de-facto EU border running through the island.
More Eastern European countries now experiencing much higher refugee levels are Bulgaria, Estonia and Latvia. Other than during the height of the Syrian war in 2015, there has been no major outcry about rising refugee numbers in the region. In other parts of Europe – where opposition was also strong previously, but government made efforts to accept refugees – the different treatment of Ukrainian refugees has also been criticized.