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EU received over 1.1 million asylum applications in 2023


Reaching a 7 year high, mostly Syrians and Afghans

Analysis published by the European Union Asylum Agency (EUAA) reveals significant changes in the asylum landscape within the EU+. In 2023, EU+ countries submitted more than 1,140,000 asylum applications, an 18 percent increase from 2022. Germany (334,000) continued to receive the largest number of applications in absolute terms, while Cyprus (12,000) experienced the most pressure relative to its population.
Syrians continued to submit the largest number of applications, while Afghans remained the second largest group of applicants, even though with significantly fewer applications than the previous year. Toward the end of the year there was also an increase in applications from Palestinians.

In a trend that began in the fourth quarter, Turkish nationals (101,000) submitted more than four-fifths (82 percent) more applications than the previous year. About one-fifth of all applications were submitted by citizens with visa-free access to the Schengen area, including Venezuelans (68,000) and Colombians (63,000). 
A natural consequence of the increase in applications is a rise in the number of cases awaiting a decision in the first instance (883,000), which increased by 39 percent in 2023. However, this does not paint a complete picture, as EU+ countries are also working to provide temporary protection to more than 4.4 million Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion. These parallel fronts have continued to pose significant challenges to EU+ asylum and reception authorities, such that by the end of 2023 the EUAA was providing operational assistance in 13 member states

In 2023, Germany (334,000) remained the top destination for asylum seekers in the EU+, receiving nearly a third of all applications. In fact, Germany received more applications than France (167,000) and Spain (162,000) combined. Italy (136,000) also occupied a prominent place in the asylum landscape. Together, these four countries received more than two-thirds of all applications last year. 
While assessing which EU+ countries receive the most asylum applications is important, it is not the best indicator of the pressure on national administrations. Indeed, asylum and reception systems vary widely in terms of capacity. Cyprus (12,000), with its small population, received 1 application for every 78 inhabitants. Germany, on the other hand, received 1 application for every 252 inhabitants. While receiving very different numbers, Belgium (35,000) and Estonia (4,000) experienced similar per capita pressure. Overall, EU+ countries received about one asylum application for every 400 inhabitants in 2023.

Further information available from the Press Office of the European Union Asylum Agency at the following e-mail addresses:  
Press Office:
Andrew McKinlay, press officer:
Anis Cassar, spokesperson:
European Union Asylum Agency (EUAA) website

EUAA website

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Published: Tuesday 12 March 2024 - Last modify: Thursday 14 March 2024

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