A higher volume of final decisions was issued to applicants from most countries of origin. One third of all final decisions were issued to applicants from Afghanistan, Syria or Iraq. Afghan nationals received more final decisions than in 2017 (+ 40 %) outnumbering Syrians (- 9 %), who in contrast received somewhat fewer. A key development in 2018 was the sharp increase in the number of final decisions issued to applicants from several Western African countries, such as Gambia, Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria (for whom final decisions more than doubled), and Senegal (receiving almost twice as many final decisions). This development is linked to the rise in the output of higher instance bodies in Italy, the country that issued most decisions to these citizenships in 2018.
Conversely, the largest decreases in the number of final decisions concerned applicants from Western Balkan countries, including Kosovo (- 50 %), North Macedonia (- 49 %), Serbia (- 47 %) and Albania (- 31 %). In this case, the vast decline in the number of decisions was attributable to much fewer decisions issued by second instance authorities in Germany, whereas in the other EU+ countries all these citizenships received more or less an equal number - or more - final decisions than in 2017.
With regard to the outcome of final decisions, the share of refugee status, subsidiary or humanitarian protection granted to each citizenship was broadly comparable with the outcome of first instance decisions. Some differences were noted, nonetheless, with regard to applicants from Afghanistan – for whom the majority of final decisions granted humanitarian protection, and Syria, for whom subsidiary protection was granted much more frequently than refugee status at second and higher instances.
The left panel in Figure 20 displays the number of decisions issued at second or higher instance for the top 20 nationalities, while the right panel illustrates the outcome of the decisions.
Number of decisions issued at final instance (left) in 2018 and outcome (right) by country of origin
Figure 20: In 2018, Afghan applicants received more final decisions than any other citizenship,