Safe countries of origin (EMN Inform)

This EMN Inform provides an overview of (Member) States' policies and practices regarding safe countries of origin. It describes which countries have introduced a list of safe countries of origin and whether nationals from these countries are treated differently than nationals from other countries in the procedure for international protection. Moreover, differences relating to reception conditions and return provisions are examined. 


In the wake of the high influx of applicants for international protection in 2015, several (Member) States were confronted with a high number of applications from persons from countries designated by certain Member States as ‘safe countries of origin’ (which means that these countries are considered as generally safe and the probability of a positive asylum decision for nationals of these countries is relatively low). As large numbers of applications by nationals of safe countries of origin bear the risk of clogging the  system for international protection of (Member) States, many (Member) States have adopted measures to address the influx of applicants for international protection from these countries, including the introduction of a list of safe countries of origin.

This Inform presents an overview of (Member) States policies and practices concerning safe countries of origin. The information in this Inform has been collected through a number of EMN ad-hoc queries. 24 countries provided input for this Inform. The analysis was carried out by the national contact points of the EMN in Estonia and the Netherlands, with support also from the Polish national contact point.

Some findings of the Inform

  • 14 out of 24 (Member) States have a list of safe countries of origin.
  • The number of countries designated as safe countries of origin differs significantly between (Member) States. The Netherlands has the highest number of countries on its list (32). However, it should be taken into account that some (Member) States have designated some EU28 countries, the EEA countries and Switzerland as safe.
  • The top 6 countries which have been designated as safe countries of origin by the most (Member) States are Western Balkan countries.
  • The majority of (Member) States regularly review the list to see if it is still up to date, but in general there is no clear fixed timespan on how often the list is updated.
  • In most of the (Member) States, the criteria which are used for the assessment are stipulated in national legislation.
  • In most of the (Member) States with a national list, the accelerated procedure which is applied to nationals from safe countries of origin, is half the length of the standard procedure.
  • A number of (Member) States with a list of safe countries of origin have implemented specific rules or measures in the area of return (e.g. shorter period for voluntary departure and/or a different policy for issuing entry bans).
Publication Date:
Wed 07 Mar 2018
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