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News Published: 26 September 2023

Persistently high level of asylum applications across Europe in July 2023

Persistently high level of asylum applications across Europe in July 2023

In July, some 87 000 applications were lodged in the EU+, up by a fifth compared to the year prior, but in-line with the average number of applications lodged so far this year. 

Analysis released by the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) suggests that EU+ asylum authorities remain under pressure from a high level of protection needs. In July 2023, some 87 000 applications were lodged in EU+ countries, which is an increase of one fifth (20 %) compared to July 2022. This figure is consistent with the average number of monthly applications lodged in the EU so far this year.

As has been the case for several years, Europe’s international protection landscape has been dominated by Syrians and Afghans, who continued to lodge the most applications for asylum in July (15 000 and 9 000, respectively). Indeed, Syrians lodged significantly more applications than this time last year (a 63 % increase), while Afghan applications remained stable. Taken together, these two citizenships accounted for more than a quarter of all applications.

Germany and Cyprus under the most pressure

In July 2023, Germany maintained its position among EU+ countries as the foremost destination for asylum seekers, receiving around 25 000 applications (29 % of the total). France and Spain recorded around 12 000 applications each, while Italy received around 10 000 applications. Taken together, these four countries received two thirds of all applications lodged.

Evaluating which EU+ countries receive the most applications for asylum is important, but not always a reliable indicator of the pressure on Member States. EU+ countries vary significantly in terms of their size, population, and the administrative capacity of their asylum and reception systems. Cyprus, with its small population size of under a million (905 000), received nearly a thousand asylum applications in July 2023, or around 1 request per 1 000 inhabitants. Uniquely, Hungary did not receive any applications in July, likely due to special requirements linked with the application process that were introduced in May 2020.

Stable recognition, but more pending decisions

In July, the recognition rate stood at 42 %, consistent with the overall trend over the last year in terms of the numbers of decisions granting either refugee status or subsidiary protection.

At the end of the month, there were some 687 000 cases awaiting a decision at first instance in EU+ countries, which is up by 34 %, year-on-year. Apart from April 2023, this is more than at any time since early 2017, when EU+ countries were then still processing applications lodged during the 2015 – 2016 so-called migration crisis. In general, citizenships lodging the most applications also tend to have the most pending cases. Indeed, Syrians (89 000) and Afghans (69 000) had the largest share of pending cases, respectively, in July.


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