MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The number of refugees seeking asylum in France in the first five months of 2016 amounted to 33,000, French Office for the Protection of Refugees (OFPRA) head Pascal Brice said, as quoted by The Local online newspaper.
The figure is above 2015 in year-on-year terms, with 28,000 applications filed in the same period last year. It is, however, a drop from the peak migrant influx of late 2015, when the number of applications soared 23.6 percent, according to Brice.
Europe has been beset by a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants fleeing their crisis-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa to escape violence and poverty. The majority of them cross the Mediterranean Sea and arrive in the European Union using southern EU nations as transit points. More than 1.8 million refugees are estimated to have arrived in the European Union in 2015, according to the European border agency Frontex.