2.2.1 Withdrawn applications: EU+ overview

Applicants may decide to withdraw their open case for international protection during the asylum procedure i.e. before a final decision has been issued. In line with procedures laid down in national laws, an application can be withdrawn either explicitly (where the applicant officially informs the determining body of their wish to discontinue their application) or implicitly (where an applicant can no longer be located and is judged to have abandoned the procedure). 

Practices in reporting on withdrawn applications vary considerably across countries. More importantly, in the case of implicit withdrawals, a time lag often exists between the actual event (such as the applicant not showing up to the asylum interview) and the registration of the administrative event (the application is formally recorded as withdrawn). This time lag can vary between and within reporting countries. Thus, withdrawals might refer to an event taking place much earlier than the reference period. 

Withdrawn applications 2014-2018

Figure 9: In 2018 withdrawn applications dropped by more than a half to a below-crisis level 

Overall in 2018, some 57 390 applications were withdrawn across EU+ countries, about half as many as in 2017 and fewer than in 2014 (Fig. 9). The ratio of withdrawn applications to the total number of applications lodged in the EU+ was 9 %, lower than the previous year 114 .  In some EU+ countries, the ratio of applications withdrawn to the applications received was particularly high, notably in Slovenia (82 %), Croatia (63 %) and Romania (60 %). Conversely, much lower rates were apparent in France (1 %), Germany, Norway and the Netherlands (4 % each). With regard to the citizenships of origin 115, the highest ratios were for applicants from Morocco, Russia (17 % each) and Algeria (16 %); the lowest were for nationals of Syria (5 %), Iran and Somalia (7 % each).


114 This ratio calculation is only illustrative because withdrawn applications in 2018 are not linked to applications lodged in the same year (it is not cohort data).
115 Among the 20 citizenships with most withdrawn applications in 2018.