The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

As part of its core mandate, UNHCR has a supervisory role in ensuring compliance with treaty obligations, including through monitoring and reporting. In line with Article 35 of the 1951 Refugee Convention, state parties to the Convention have a duty to cooperate with UNHCR and to facilitate its supervisory responsibilities, including through the provision of relevant information. The role of UNHCR is also reflected in the legal instruments conforming the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). 
Overview of the role of UNHCR
in EU+ countries
This overview presents UNHCR’s activities and priorities across EU+ countries, mapping the agency’s specific role in asylum procedures.

The work of UNHCR in Europe is coordinated by the Regional Bureau for Europe based in Geneva. UNHCR is operational in all EU+ countries, maintaining a significant presence in the region with 22 country offices and 4 regional representations or multi-country offices.

Additionally, through its Representations to European Institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg, and its Liaison Offices to the EUAA and Frontex, UNHCR works closely with the European Union​ on issues related to international protection.

 ​Key findings

  • UNHCR is actively involved in first instance determination procedures in Italy and Spain and provides cross-cutting support to asylum procedures in 15 countries. In Spain, UNHCR’s involvement ranges from having an advisory role to national authorities, assisting in preparatory works for legislation and policies, disseminating guidelines and country of origin information (COI) and providing legal assistance to applicants for international protection.
  • The agency provides information to applicants and beneficiaries of international protection in all EU+ countries.
  • UNHCR is also involved in second instance procedures in 7 EU+ countries. This includes working with the judiciary in support of selection procedures, training judges or directly intervening in judicial proceedings at national and European levels.
  • UNHCR supports monitoring and quality assurance activities in 27 EU+ countries, with the aim of strengthening asylum systems. Additionally, the agency supports capacity-building of national authorities in 23 EU+ countries, including through the delivery of training and the provision of technical assistance.
  • As the main stakeholder in charge of identifying and referring refugees for resettlement consideration, UNHCR supports the implementation of resettlement programmes in 17 EU+ countries.
  • UNHCR has an active advocacy role across all EU+ countries.​​