The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union 2018 has highlighted the fact that the 664,480 applications for international protection in EU+ marked a decrease for the third consecutive year, this time by 10%. While the number of applications remained remarkably stable throughout 2018, the relative stability at EU+ level conceals stark variation between Member States and between individual citizenships.
The number of pending cases however still remains high. Germany continued to be the country with the largest stock of pending cases at all instances, despite a minor reduction compared to a year earlier. Italy remained the second EU+ country with the highest number of pending cases, but the stock decreased by almost a third compared to the end of 2017.
The EASO Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union 2018 provides a comprehensive overview of developments in the field of international protection at the European level and at the level of national asylum systems. EASO is based in Malta.
Pending cases: Absolute increase in Spain
Spain had the largest absolute increase in pending cases, doubling to almost 79,000 at the end of 2018. A considerable absolute increase also took place in Greece, where the stock went above 76,000. France also reported more pending cases than a year ago, up to almost 53,000. At the same time, in approximately half of the EU+ countries, the stock of pending cases decreased.
Applications for asylum: Significant change reported in Italy
A significant change occurred in Italy, where applications decreased by 53%. The top five receiving countries per capita included Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Lichtenstein and Luxembourg.
Commission implementing short and long-term measures
The implementation of the European Agenda on Migration continued in 2018, summarised in the Commission’s Communications on the Implementation of the European Agenda on Migration. Relevant developments in the course of 2018 reflected an orchestrated effort to transition from ad hoc responses to durable, future-proof solutions in the area of asylum.
While long-term structural measures are also being developed, the Commission has identified a number of immediate measures to address pressing issues along the Western, Central, and Eastern Mediterranean routes, including providing assistance to Morocco, improving conditions for migrants in Libya with an emphasis on the most vulnerable, and further optimising operational workflows on the Greek islands.
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