More than 500 000 asylum applications in EU+ countries in H1 2023

By the end of June 2023, EU+ countries received 519 000 applications for asylum. Based on current trends, applications could exceed 1 million by the end of 2023, the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) said on September 5.

Analysis released by the EUAA for the first half of 2023 reveals a continuation of more asylum applications being lodged in the EU, following a significant 53  per cent increase in 2022 over the-then previous year.

During the first half of 2023, applications for asylum rose to 519 000, a 28  per cent increase compared to the first half of 2022.

As a result of the increase, many EU+ countries are under pressure with processing applications and protecting those in need, the EUAA said.

Accordingly, the number of cases awaiting decisions also increased by 34  per cent from 2022.

In addition, about four million Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion, currently benefit from Temporary Protection.

Together, these parallel trends pose significant challenges to EU+ asylum and reception systems authorities, so much so that by June 2023, the EUAA was offering operational assistance to 13 Member States, the EUAA said.

Syrians continued to lodge the most applications for asylum in the EU+, as has been the trend for several years.

In the first half of 2023, they lodged 67 000 applications which is up by nearly half (47  per cent) compared to the same period in 2022 and the most at this time of the year since 2016.

Germany continues to receive the most Syrian applications, processing 62  per cent of all applications in the first half of 2023.

Of the decisions in the EU+ taken at first instance, around 41  per cent granted either refugee status or subsidiary protection.

Recognition rates for many citizenships remained consistent with past trends – for example, Syrians continued to be granted international protection at a rate of around 95  per cent and Afghans at around 58  per cent.

However, some recognition rates have undergone significant changes, these include Turkish applicants who, for four years, have steadily been granted protection less often (down to 28  per cent from 54 per cent in 2019), and Russians and Iranians who have been granted international protection more frequently (up to 35  per cent from 20  per cent in 2021 for the former, and up to 47  per cent from 31  per cent in 2020 for the latter).

The first half of 2023 also saw a notable uptake in asylum applications from Ivorian (9300) and Guinean (8700) nationals in the EU+. Ivorian applications more than doubled, while Guinean submissions rose by 60  per cent compared to the same period in the previous year.

However, taken together, applications by these two nationalities still only accounted for 3.5  per cent of the overall figure. 

France, historically, tends to receive most of these applications but much of the recent increase has taken place in Italy. The recognition rates for both these citizenships have been steadily increasing from 2017 to reach 28  per cent for Ivorians and 32  per cent for Guineans, in the first half of 2023, the EUAA said.

(Photo: EC Audiovisual Service)

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