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Asylum in the EU: Facts and Figures

Written by Eva-Maria Poptcheva, Susan Saliba and Giulio Sabbati

Asylum is a form of international protection given by a state on its territory to someone who is threatened by persecution on grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular group or political opinion in their country of origin or residence. In the EU, this consists of refugee status as defined in the UN Geneva Refugee Convention, and subsidiary protection for persons who do not qualify as refugees but in respect of whom substantial grounds exist that the person concerned, if returned to their country of origin, would face a real risk of suffering serious harm as defined in the Qualification Directive.

The Lisbon Treaty introduced a legal basis for a common asylum policy that would make it possible to eliminate differences in the treatment of asylum-seekers across the EU. The Common European Asylum System (CEAS) was completed in 2013 and comprises five key acts. Notably, the Qualification Directive clarifies the grounds on which international protection is granted to asylum-seekers in EU Member States. Furthermore, the Dublin III Regulation establishes the criteria for determining which Member State is responsible for examining an application for international protection, and provides for the transfer of asylum-seekers to the Member State responsible under the Dublin rules.

This briefing provides an overview of the number of third-country nationals seeking asylum in EU Member States, their success in asylum procedures, and requests for transfers between Member States, as a consequence of the Dublin Regulation. For further information on asylum in the EU, please see our briefing ‘EU legal framework on asylum and irregular immigration’.

Read this EPRS Briefing on Asylum in the EU: Facts and Figures in PDF

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Visit the European Parliament page on ‘EU migrant crisis: facts and figures‘.


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