BRUSSELS – The number of people seeking asylum in Hungary almost doubled in August as the government was building a razor-wire fence to stop people entering the country from Serbia, the European Union's statistical agency said Friday.
Eurostat said 92,265 people applied for asylum in August compared to 49,250 in July.
That brings the total number of people seeking international protection there so far this year to around 207,000, according to Eurostat figures.
Most people arriving in Hungary travel overland from Greece and many try to move deeper into the EU bound for countries like Germany or Sweden.
The figures used by Eurostat are provided by national governments or ministries. They refer to people seeking international protection from conflict or violence, and not those coming to Europe looking for jobs or to reunite with families.
In the first six months of this year more than 400,000 people applied for asylum for the first time in the 28 EU nations. More than one in three — 154,055 people — did so in Germany up to June.
Other main destination countries are Austria, Italy, France and Sweden.
In Greece, where most migrants enter and whose coast guard and reception capacities are overwhelmed, 5,480 people applied for asylum for the first time in the first half of 2015.
Eurostat said that most asylum applications in the EU from April to June, when arrivals increased with improving weather, were submitted by Syrians, with 21 percent of the overall figure, Afghans with 13 percent and Albanians at eight percent.
While the acceptance rate of Syrian applications is relatively high — 95 percent were recognized as needing international protection in 2014 — some eight percent of Albanian applications are accepted.