As EU-wide figures on first instance decisions on asylum applications during the first half of 2019 are expected to be made available soon by Eurostat, national statistics on first instance decisions from selected countries covered by AIDA, managed by ECRE, illustrate key trends for this year.

Statistics on negative decisions merit particular consideration and analysis. In the first six months of 2019, Germany issued more than 50,000 negative decisions, France issued 43,398 and Italy 36,573.

Not all negative decisions point to an asylum seeker’s need of international protection, however Asylum applications may be rejected as unfounded or manifestly unfounded after an assessment of their substance, or may be dismissed as inadmissible pursuant to one of the grounds laid down in Article 33(2) of the recast Asylum Procedures Directive. These grounds have been differently transposed across the continent and are used at varying degrees in national practice.

In absolute numbers, most inadmissibility decisions during the first six months of the year were issued by Switzerland (1,829), Belgium (1,793), Austria (1,383) and Sweden (1,356). Germany is also likely to account for a large number of inadmissibility decisions, although these are not disaggregated from withdrawals and other decisions.

Comparing inadmissibility to in-merit rejections in the different countries, however, it appears that Malta, Poland and Slovenia delivered more inadmissibility decisions than rejections on the merits in the first half of 2019. In contrast, France and Greece made limited use of inadmissibility concepts and Cyprus did not use them at all during that period.

The distinction between merit- and admissibility-related negative decisions does not appear in Eurostat statistics, since both categories are grouped under “rejection” statistics. This leads to a distortion of asylum authorities’ decision-making record and recognition rates. According to Eurostat figures, for example, the recognition rate for nationals of Syria was 50% in the first half of 2019, as “rejection” figures include a significant number of inadmissibility decisions.

As regards positive decisions on asylum applications, Germany continues to lead in absolute numbers with 39,682 decisions granting a protection status. France issued 17,447 positive decisions, Greece granted 11,223 and Italy 9,200.

The dominant forms of international or national protection granted in positive decisions continue to vary from one country to another. Malta, Cyprus, Portugal and Romania continue to grant subsidiary protection over refugee status in most positive decisions. Greece, Austria, the United Kingdom and Slovenia, on the other hand, have mainly issued refugee status.

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*This information was first published by AIDA, managed by ECRE.

This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin . You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.