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Press Release Published: 5 September 2023

Over half a million asylum applications in EU+ countries, in the first half of 2023

Over half a million applications in EU+ countries

By the end of June, EU+ countries received 519 000 applications for asylum. Based on current trends, applications could exceed 1 million by the end of 2023.

Analysis released by the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) on the first half of 2023 reveals a continuation of more asylum applications being lodged in the EU, following a significant 53 % increase in 2022 over the-then previous year. During the first half of 2023, applications for asylum rose to 519 000, a 28 % increase compared to the first half of 2022.EUAA EPS data are preliminary and might differ from validated official statistics submitted to Eurostat at a later stage. Eurostat data are used in the annual EUAA Asylum Report. The total EPS numbers include an approximation for one EU+ country and may change after data updates.

As a result of the increase, many EU+ countries are under pressure with processing applications and protecting those in need. Accordingly, the number of cases awaiting decisions also increased by 34 % from 2022. In addition, approximately 4 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.

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 %) 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 % of all applications in the first half of 2023.

Of the decisions in the EU+ taken at first instance, around 41 % 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 % and Afghans at around 58 %. 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 % from 54 % in 2019), and Russians and Iranians who have been granted international protection more frequently (up to 35 % from 20 % in 2021 for the former, and up to 47 % from 31 % in 2020 for the latter).

The first half of 2023 also saw a notable uptake in asylum applications from Ivorian (9 300) and Guinean (8 700) nationals in the EU+. Ivorian applications more than doubled, while Guinean submissions rose by 60 % compared to the same period in the previous year.

However, taken together, applications by these two nationalities still only accounted for 3.5 % 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 % for Ivorians and 32 % for Guineans, in the first half of 2023.

For more information and interactive data visualisations, please visit the Latest Asylum Trends page.