The Constitution defines as safe countries of origin the countries “in which, on the basis of their laws, enforcement practices and general political conditions, it can be safely concluded that neither political persecution nor inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment exists”.
List of safe countries of origin
Member states of the European Union are by definition considered to be safe countries of origin. The list of safe countries of origin is an addendum to the law and has to be adopted by both chambers of the Parliament. If the situation in a safe country of origin changes and it can no longer be considered to be safe within the meaning of the law, the Federal Government may issue a decree to remove this country from the list for a period of 6 months.
At present, the list of safe countries consists of:
- North Macedonia;
Serbia, North Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were added to the list following the entry into force of a law on 6 November 2014. Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro were added with another law which took effect on 24 October 2015.
As explained in the previous updates of this report, several bills were tabled with the aim to add certain countries to the list of safe countries (such as Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia in April 2016) or Georgia in 2018 – but the draft bill was removed from the Bundesrat’s agenda in February 2019 as it became obvious that it would be rejected again. The bill was not reintroduced again before the federal elections of September 2021.
Applications of asylum seekers from safe countries of origin shall be considered as manifestly unfounded, unless the applicant presents facts or evidence which justify the conclusion that he or she might be persecuted in spite of the general situation in the country of origin.
Since March 2016, accelerated procedures can be carried out for applicants from safe countries of origin). However, this is only possible in branch offices of the BAMF to which a “special reception centre” has been assigned, and in 2020 the procedure was only applied in arrival centres or AnkER centres in Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia (see Accelerated Procedure).
The number of applications from asylum seekers from safe countries of origin significantly decreased in recent years and have remained on a low level since 2019. The following table shows statistics for asylum applications by relevant nationalities:
|:Asylum applications by nationals of “safe countries of origin”|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||3,109||1,438||870||633||401||1,538|
Source: BAMF, Asylgeschäftsstatistik (statistics on applications, decisions and pending procedures), 1-12/2010 and 2021, available in German at: https://bit.ly/3rnIEzR (2020) and https://bit.ly/3goPTTa (2021).
It should be noted that many asylum applications of persons from safe countries of origin are subsequent applications (e.g. 36.2% for Albania, 53.9 % for Serbia in 2021). Hence the number of newly arriving asylum seekers from these countries is considerably lower than the numbers provided above.
To illustrate the developments of protection rates of “safe countries of origin”, the following table includes decisions on first applications from Albania, Serbia and North Macedonia. The figures include all cases in which refugee status, subsidiary protection or (national) humanitarian protection/prohibition of removal was granted:
|Recognition rates for nationals of selected “safe countries of origin”|
|North Macedonia||0.4%||1%||0.8%||0.2%||0 %||0.1%|
Source: BAMF, Antrags-, Entscheidungs- und Bestandsstatistik, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and Asylgeschäftsstatistik (statistics on applications, decisions and pending procedures), 1-12/2019, 1-12-/2020 and 1-12-2021.
 Article 16a(3) Basic Law.
 Section 29a(2) Asylum Act.
Gesetz zur Einstufung weiterer Staaten als sichere Herkunftsstaaten und zur Erleichterung des Arbeitsmarktzugangs für Asylbewerber und geduldete Ausländer, BGBl. I, No. 49, 5 November 2014, 1649.
 Asylverfahrensbeschleunigungsgesetz, BGBl. I, 23 October 2015, 1722.
 Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Einstufung der Demokratischen Volksrepublik Algerien, des Königreichs Marokko und der Tunesischen Republik als sichere Herkunftsstaaten, 68/16, available in German at: http://bit.ly/2kSi5CO; Bundesrat, ‘Keine Zustimmung: Gesetz zu sicheren Herkunftsstaaten’, 10 March 2017, available at: http://bit.ly/1owVXpm; Spiegel, ‘Bundesrat verschiebt Abstimmung über sichere Herkunftsländer’, 15 February 2019, available in German at: https://bit.ly/2urOtiw.