In 2016, almost 1.3 million applications for international protection were made in the “EU+” – the 28 EU Member States, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, the annual report of European Asylum Support Office (EASO) released this week in Brussels reveals. This is a 7 % decrease compared to 2015.
Country of origin and destination
The highest numbers of asylum applicants recorded were citizens of Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Nigeria. Syria was the top citizenship of applicants reported such that Syrian nationals accounted for 26 % of all applications in the EU+. Afghanistan ranked second (15 % of the EU+ total), followed by Iraq (10 %). A wide gap separated these three main countries of origin from the remaining top 10 citizenships of applicants in 2016, which consisted of citizens from Pakistan (4 %), Nigeria (4 %), Iran (3 %), Eritrea (3 %), Albania (3 %), Russia (2 %) and Somalia (2 %). Altogether, the top 10 countries of origin accounted for 72 % of all applications. Almost one-third of applicants were persons younger than 18.
The top five receiving countries – Germany, Italy, France, Greece and Austria – accounted for 81 % of all applications lodged in the EU+.
Trends in 2017
The latest figures for the first months of 2017 show a further decrease in the number of lodged applications for international protection. Syria remained the main country of origin of applicants between January and May 2017. However, in that period Syrian nationals represented only 13 % of all applicants in the EU +, a significant change compared to previous year when, on average, one in four applications was lodged by Syrian nationals. In the first four months of 2017, together with Syria, three other countries of origin – Afghanistan, Nigeria and Iraq – represented about one-third of all applicants in the EU+. Afghan nationals still accounted for the largest share among claimed unaccompanied minors.
Application success rate
The “EU+” countries issued close to 1.15 million first-instance decisions on applications for international protection, an increase of 84 % compared to 2015. The overall recognition rate stood at 61 % for first instance decisions and increased compared to previous year. In 2016, the recognition rate of cases on appeal or review was 17 %, two percentage points higher than in 2015. Compared to the recognition rate at first instance, it was 44 percentage points lower. Among countries with more than 1 000 second instance decisions taken in 2016 more than half of first instance decisions were positive in the United Kingdom (52 % of total) and in the Netherlands (58 %). In three EU+ countries – Belgium, Switzerland and Poland – applicants for international protection who appealed against a decision issued at first instance had a less than 10 % chance of success.