Three quarters of all final decisions in 2018 were issued by just three EU+ countries: Germany, France or Italy (Figure 21). Notably, Germany alone accounted for slightly less than half of all decisions in the EU+ but issued somewhat fewer decisions than in 2017 (- 7 %). While numbers were broadly stable in France (- 3 %), they increased in Italy: compared to 2017, the output of second-instance bodies more than tripled. As a result, Italy accounted for 14 % of all final decisions issued in the EU+ in 2018, up from just 4 % a year earlier. Noticeable increases took place also in Sweden (+ 31 %), Austria (+ 51 %), Switzerland (+ 67 %) and Finland (+ 64 %), whereas large drops were registered in Greece (- 25 %) and Norway (- 53 %).
In some countries, second instance bodies granted protection more often than first instance bodies. In contrast to 2017, this was the case in Italy (40 %, + 8 percentage points than at first instance), Sweden (36 %, + 2 p.p.) and Germany (43 % + 1 p.p.). Even higher were the discrepancies in the Netherlands (+ 25 percentage points), the United Kingdom (+ 23 p.p.), Bulgaria (+ 22 p.p., although the number of final decisions was modest), Finland (+ 15 p.p.) and Austria (+ 11 p.p.). However, it must be noted that in all these EU+ countries the recognition rates were higher at second instance even in 2017. Unsurprisingly, these countries also had the highest recognition rates at final instance in 2018: Finland (69 %), the Netherlands (60 %), the United Kingdom (58 %), Bulgaria (57 %) and Austria (54 %).
Number of decisions issued at final instance (left) in 2018 and outcome (right) by EU+ country
Figure 21: In 2018, three in four final decisions were issued in Germany, France or Italy