According to the main findings and figures:
- There were 728 470 applications for international protection in the EU+, representing a decrease of 44 % compared to 2016, but remaining at a higher level than prior to the refugee crisis, which started in 2015. Migratory pressure at the EU external borders remained high, but decreased for second consecutive year, mostly at the eastern and central Mediterranean routes, whereas there was an unprecedented upsurge on the western Mediterranean route.
- In terms of pending cases, for the first time in several years, at the end of 2017 the stock of pending cases was reduced compared to the year before, while approximately 954 100 applications were awaiting a final decision in the EU+, 16 % fewer than at the same time in 2016. At the end of 2017, just half of all pending cases were awaiting a decision at first instance, whereas an increasing proportion was pending at second or higher instance, which is a new phenomenon. The number of cases awaiting decision at second and higher instance almost doubled since the end of 2016, pointing to the transfer of workload in national systems from the first instance to the appeal and review stage.
- Main developments in EU+ countries with regard to procedures at first instance mostly concerned measures taken toward the optimisation of processing of applications for international protection, as well as the reduction of processing times. Measures also included prioritisation and fast-track procedures.