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News Published: 21 December 2023

Asylum applications reached 123,000 across Europe in October 2023

Asylum applications reached 123,000 across Europe in October 2023

The European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) reports that in October 2023, applications for asylum increased to 123 000, which is the highest monthly figure in seven years. Based on current trends, it is likely that EU+ countries will receive well over one million asylum applications by the end of the year. 

The EUAA has released analysis indicating that EU+ countries’ asylum authorities continue to face significant pressure due to a high level of applications being lodged. In October 2023, Syrians (24 000) remained at the forefront of asylum applications in the EU+, with a substantial 30 % increase from October 2022, accounting for a fifth of all applications lodged

While Afghans (11 000) have historically been the 2nd largest applicant group in the EU+, recent data indicates a significant shift: Turkish applicants (17 000) have more than doubled (126 % increase) year-on-year, while Afghans have lodged nearly a quarter fewer applications. The monthly figure for Turkish applications is the largest figure ever recorded by the EUAA. 

Strain on national protection systems 

In October, Germany (34 000) remained the main destination for asylum seekers in the EU+, receiving 27 % of all applications. In fact, Germany received more applications than the next two receiving countries combined: France (17 000) and Italy (16 000), each receiving 14 % and 13 % of all applications, respectively. Spain (13 000) received 10 % of applications in the EU+. Taken together, these four countries received just under two thirds of all applications in October. 

The number of applications is not always the best measure of pressure on Member States. With its small population size of around 921 000, Cyprus (1 200) received around 1 application per 770 inhabitants. In contrast, Germany with its far larger population of 84 million, received 1 application per 2 500 inhabitants. 


Continued first instance caseload accumulation and uptick in recognition rate 

At the end of October 2023, the number of cases pending a decision at first instance increased to 822 000. This high number of pending cases does not include those awaiting decisions on appeal. It is estimated that, at the end of September 2023, the total number of pending cases at all instances increased to over a million.  

In October, the EU+ recognition rate increased to 49 %, the highest rate recorded in over three years. It is worth noting that Turkish recognition has been declining: from 52 % in December 2021 to 24 % in October 2023. 

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