EASO Asylum Report 2020
In 2019, the number of applications for international protection increased in Europe for the first time
since 2015. Against this background, EU+ countries continued their efforts t o further calibrate their
asylum systems and enhance solutions for international protection, building on initiatives introduced
in previous years.
The overview of asylum-related developments presented in the EASO Asylum Report 2020, based on
a synthesis of qualitative and quantitative information, revealed emerging trends and current issues
in the area of asylum, both at the E U and national levels. As outlined in the report, major
developments included:
The backlog of applications for international protection awaiting a decision remained much
higher compared to the pre-2015 level, and in the case of some Member States has
significantly increased, illustrating the heightened pressure under which EU+ asylum and
reception systems are still operating.
Secondary movements of applicants have attracted increasing attention among EU+ countries
and added to debates about the current functioning of the Dublin procedure.
EU+ countries continued to place an emphasis on swift registration and collection of detailed
information from applicants in the early stages of the asylum procedure to distinguish more
efficiently between persons in need of protection and those who will be directed to return.
This has been coupled with measures to enhance border procedures.
Efforts increased across EU+ countries to support the needs of applicants with vulnerabilities,
from early identification and provision of procedural safeguards to improving specialised
reception facilities and developing tailor-made information materials for unaccompanied
minor applicants in particular.
With a considerable number of cases pending at second instance, courts and tribunals
continued to play an important role in shaping the practical application of the provisions of
the European asylum acquis.
Despite c ontinued efforts by EU+ countries to identify solutions for the effective return of
persons with no right to stay in the EU, including former applicants for international
protection, the number of actual returns remained much lower than return decisions.
At the EU level, in the absence of major legislative progress toward the adoption of the C EAS reform
package, considerable work was acc omplished in policy implementation and practical cooperation
among EU+ countries in the area of asylum, often with the coordination of the European Commission.
A        EU      
of public debate, particularly in relation to search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea
and the safe disembarkation and relocation of rescued migrants. Discussion are c urrently evolving to
identify standardised solutions, based on the principles of solidarity and shared responsibility.
In addition, the increased migration flows along the Eastern Mediterranean route ampl ified the pre-
existing pressure on the asylum systems o f Member States in the region. To assist frontline Member
States in the Central and Eastern Mediterranean area, in 2019 EASO improved and, when needed,
expanded its operational support to Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta.

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