EMN Ad-Hoc Query on safe countries of origin

24 (Member) States provided information on their policies and practices regarding the application of the ‘safe countries of origin’ concept in their procedures for international protection. This ad-hoc query was launched by the Dutch and the Estonian Contact Points of the EMN.


Recent amendments to the Estonian legislation introduced the possibility to draft a list of safe countries of origin. In this framework, the Estonian National Contact Point (NCP) of the EMN – in collaboration with the Dutch NCP – launched an ad-hoc query in November 2016. The aim is to obtain information on Member States’ practices regarding the concept of safe countries of origin.

24 (Member) States, including Belgium, provided an answer to the ad-hoc query.

Some of the main findings

  • 14 out of 24 countries that responded to the Ad-Hoc Query have a list of safe countries of origin.
  • The countries which are most often found on lists of safe countries of origin are the Western Balkan countries.
  • There is often no fixed timespan for the re-evaluation of these lists. Most Member States do not have plans to change their list of safe countries of origin in the near future.
  • Criteria that are most often mentioned for deciding whether a country is safe or not are:
    • Non-existence of persecution by the state
    • Adherence to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights, the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
    • Adherence to the non-refoulement principle according to the Geneva Refugee Convention
  • Most countries that have a list of safe countries of origin in place process applications from these countries in an accelerated procedure.
  • Almost every country has the same reception conditions (aside from DE and NL) or return provisions (aside from FI and NL) for applicants from a safe country of origin as for applicants from other countries.
  • Most countries transfer asylum seekers from a safe country of origin with a Dublin III indication to the responsible Member State (with the exception of Finland and the Netherlands).

More detailed information can be found in the summary (produced by the Dutch and Estonian NCPs) and compilation of the answers of the (Member) States (available above).

Publication Date:
Thu 16 Mar 2017
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