ASYLUMSharp Increase in Application for Asylum to EU Countries

Published 5 July 2023

EU+ countries received around 996,000 asylum applications in 2022, a 53 percent increase over 2021. Around 70 percent of applications in 2022 were lodged in five receiving countries, including Germany, France, Spain, Austria, and Italy. As in previous years, the top countries of origin were Syria and Afghanistan, followed by Turkey, Venezuela and Colombia.

The European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) has published its annual flagship Asylum Report. By bringing together input from Civil Society, Member States’ national authorities and independent judiciaries, as well as key statistical data from the EUAA Early warning and Preparedness System (EPS) and Eurostat, it aims to provide a balanced update on the asylum situation in Europe.

Following the release of provisional data earlier this year, the EUAA has published its Asylum Report 2023. In it, the Agency reports that EU+ countries received around 996 000 asylum applications in 2022, a 53 percent increase over 2021.

With contributions received from a record 76 organizations representing a cross-section of society, and following consultations with the UNHCR and the European Commission, the report aims to contribute to European public discourse on international protection. It cites over 1 000 sources and combines both qualitative analyses and quantitative data in order to provide an authoritative resource for both practitioners and policy makers, amongst others.

For the first time, this year’s Report also offers an overview of the Agency’s own activities in 2022, due to the increasingly important role the EUAA now plays in the protection landscape of Europe. Furthermore, also reflecting the Agency’s expanding operational footprint (14 operations in EU+ countries in 2022), the Report evaluates the results of some of these.

This year also brings new interactive web and digital features, through which stakeholders can retrieve information of interest. This is aimed at ensuring that while the Report contains an unprecedented amount of information, it can be identified and consulted in a user-friendly way.

Significant Pressure on National Systems
Around 70 percent of applications in 2022 were lodged in five receiving countries, including Germany (244 000), France (156 000), Spain (118 000), Austria (109 000), and Italy (84 000). As in previous years, the top countries of origin were Syria (138 000) and Afghanistan (132 000), followed by Türkiye (58 000), Venezuela (51 000) and Colombia (43 000).

In 2022, EU+ countries took around 646 000 decisions on applications at first instance, the most since 2017. Of the 252 000 positive decisions, around 59 percent granted refugee status and 41 percent provided subsidiary protection. The recognition rate stood at 39 percent, the highest since 2017, meaning that around 2-in-5 applications were successful. Taken together, Germany (31 percent), France (20 percent), Spain (13 percent), Italy (8 percent), Austria (6 percent) and Greece (6 percent) issued over four fifths of all decisions.

However, despite the increased pace in decision-taking in 2022, because of the surge in applications linked to conflict, instability, and food insecurity in many regions of origin, the number of pending decisions rose to 899 000 in 2022.

EU Response to Provide Protection
With almost 1 million asylum seekers and about 4 million beneficiaries of temporary protection in 2022, EU+ countries, supported by the EU’s Institutions and Agencies, reacted swiftly to tackle a dynamic and challenging situation.

Furthermore, in 2022 and early 2023, European policymakers inched ever closer to agreeing on the comprehensive reforms proposed in the Pact on Migration and Asylum, including an agreement by Member States on two important legislative proposals in  June 2023.

If the Pact is adopted following negotiations with the European Parliament, the EUAA will need to be equipped with the resources – both financial and in terms of personnel – given the critical role it will play in implementing the Pact.