The 2015 Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the number and nature of applications for international protection made in the EU+ (1). It examines how those applications were processed and indicates important developments at EU+ and national level in order to describe the functioning of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) in each of its key aspects.
The EASO Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the EU is drawn up in accordance with Article 12 of the EASO Regulation (3). Its objective is to provide a comprehensive overview of the situation of asylum in the EU (and includes information on Norway and Switzerland) (4), describing and analysing flows of applicants for international protection, major developments in legislation, jurisprudence, and policies at the EU/national level and reporting on the practical functioning of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). As in previous years, the report aims to provide analysis based on independent sources of information and helps identify the areas where improvement is most needed (and thus where EASO and other key stakeholders should focus their efforts) in line with its declared purpose of improving the quality, consistency and effectiveness of the CEAS. The report makes no claim to be exhaustive. State-specific examples mentioned in the report serve only as illustrations of relevant aspects of the CEAS.
The report takes due account of information already available from a wide range of sources. For the purpose of this report, EASO received information from Member States, EU institutions, civil society, international organisations, and academia.
In accordance with its role under Article 35 of the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 relating to the Status of Refugees, which is reflected in the EU Treaties and the asylum acquis instruments, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees made a special contribution to this report (also referred to as UNHCR input).
Primary information was obtained by EASO from EU+ countries through an Annual Report Matrix (and where needed, clarifications were sought bilaterally) (5). Information was also received via questionnaire responses made as part of the drafting of the European Migration Network’s Annual Report. To avoid duplication with the Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum, the European Commission was consulted during the drafting process and actively contributed.
The EASO Network of Court and Tribunal members contributed to the report by providing relevant examples of national case law.
The Report also takes account of additional information based on publicly available sources (6), duly referenced. Contributions were also specifically sought from civil society with a call for input from the EASO Executive Director to the members of the EASO Consultative Forum, inviting them to provide information on their work relevant for the functioning of the CEAS.
The EASO Annual Report covers the period from 1 January to 31 December 2015 inclusive, but also refers to major recent relevant developments in the year of writing.