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July 3, 2018

New report outlines the situation of asylum in the EU

The European Asylum Support Office have released their annual report covering 2017. The report aims to provide “a comprehensive overview of the situation of asylum in the EU (including information on Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland), describing and analysing flows of applicants for international protection, major developments in legislation, jurisprudence, and policies at the EU+ and national level and reporting on the practical functioning of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). As part of the Report, EASO also indicates its activities undertaken in 2017 in respective thematic areas.”

In addition to covering EU-level policy developments and Court of Justice rulings related to asylum, the report features some interesting statistics.

For example, as the mandatory resettlement scheme providing for the relocation of people seeking asylum across EU countries closed in September 2017, only 34,558 people were relocated (all from Italy and Greece), compared to the 160,000 initially envisioned. 

In 2017, there were 728,470 applications for international protection in the EU+, representing a decrease of 44% compared to 2016 (though still above pre-2015 levels). Syria (since 2013), Iraq, and Afghanistan were the three main countries of origin of applicants in the EU+ (combined, they represent about 30% of all asylum applications in Europe). A third of all applicants were children.
 
The report’s executive summary also notes that, while the overall load of pending asylum applications is diminishing, the number of applications that are passed on to appeals has grown considerably. To quote:
For the first time in several years, at the end of 2017 the stock of pending cases was reduced compared to the year before, while approximately 954 100 applications were awaiting a final decision in the EU+, 16% fewer than at the same time in 2016. At the end of 2017, just half of all pending cases were awaiting a decision at first instance, whereas an increasing proportion were pending at second or higher instance, which is a new phenomenon. The number of cases awaiting decision at second and higher instance almost doubled since the end of 2016, pointing to the transfer of workload in national systems from the first instance to the appeal and review stage.
The report is available to read and download in full here.