EU ASYLUMEU Asylum Applications at 7-Year High

By Jack Parrock

Published 1 March 2024

Official figures reveal that the EU received more than 1.14 million asylum applications in 2023, the highest number since 2016. Far-right parties could capitalize on the influx in June’s EU elections.

More than 1.14 million people applied for asylum in the EU in 2023, according to annual figures released by the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA).

It is the largest number of applications in the European Union and the closely aligned EU+ countries Norway and Switzerland since displaced people arrived in the bloc en masse from 2015 through 2016.

Germany received 29% of the asylum applications, with more than 334,000 people seeking protection in 2023. The nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has used the topic of migration to surge to 19% support in the country.

France (167,000), Spain (162,000) and Italy (136,000) followed as the biggest recipients of applications. With 12,000 applications, Cyprus received the most relative to its population of 1.2 million.

Countries of Origin
Continuing a yearslong trend, Syrian nationals submitted the most applications in 2023, with 181,000. Afghanistan remained the second largest country of origin, with 114,000 applications from nationals in 2023.

Last year also saw an 82% increase of in the number of Turkish citizens applying for international protection in the EU, at more than 100,000.

The EUAA acknowledges that the numbers in its annual report do not “paint a complete picture” across the European Union.

The 4.4 million Ukrainians who have relocated into the European Union since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion are not included as they have been provided “temporary protection” and do not need to formally apply for asylum.

Palestinians applying for asylum in the European Union jumped to a record high of more than 11,000, up from about 6,700 in 2022.

The increased numbers are not unexpected, because of the increase in geopolitical instability around the world, with growing conflicts in regions not far from Europe,” Alberto‑Horst Neidhardt, a senior policy analyst at the European Policy Centre think tank, told DW.

A Legal Right to Protection’
The most recent “Global Trends” report from the UN Refugee Agency found that 110 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced from their homes, an increase of more than 1.6 million people from the end of 2022.