The safe country concepts


Country Report: The safe country concepts Last updated: 10/07/24


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Following the EU-Türkiye Statement of 18 March 2016,[1] the provisions concerning the “first country of asylum” and the “safe third country” concepts were applied for the first time in Greece vis-à-vis Türkiye. Serious concerns about the compatibility of the ΕU-Türkiye Statement with international and European law, and more precisely the application of the “safe third country” concept, have been raised since the publication of the Statement.[2]

On 28 February 2017, the General Court of the European Union gave an order with regard to an action for annulment brought by two Pakistani nationals and one Afghan national against the EU-Türkiye Statement. The order stated that ‘the EU-Turkey Statement, as published by means of Press Release No 144/16, cannot be regarded as a measure adopted by the European Council, or, moreover, by any other institution, body, office or agency of the European Union, or as revealing the existence of such a measure that corresponds to the contested measure.’[3] Therefore, ‘the Court does not have jurisdiction to rule on the lawfulness of an international agreement concluded by the Member States.’[4] The decision became final on 12 September 2018, as an appeal against it before the CJEU was rejected.[5]


F. The safe country concepts contains sections on:

  1. Safe third country
  2. First country of asylum
  3. Safe country of origin




[1] European Council, Press Release: EU-Turkey Statement, 18 March 2016, available at:

[2] See, e.g., Greek National Commission for Human Rights (GNCHR), Έκθεση για τη συμφωνία ΕΕΤουρκίας της 18ης Μαρτίου 2016 για το προσφυγικό/μεταναστευτικό ζήτημα υπό το πρίσμα του Ν. 4375/2016, 25 April 2016, available in Greek at:; Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Resolution 2109 (2016), The situation of refugees and migrants under the EU-Türkiye Agreement of 18 March 2016, available at:; United Nations Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Greece, A/HRC/35/25/Add.2, 24 April 2017, available at:, para 31.

[3] General Court of the European Union, Cases T-192/16, T-193/16 and T-257/16 NF, NG and NM v. European Council, Order of 28 February 2017, press release available at:

[4] Ibid.

[5] CJEU, Cases C-208/17 P, C-209/17 P and C-210/17 P NF, NG and NM v European Council, Order of 12 September 2018.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation