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UNHCR is lending its expertise to the European Union (EU) as it works to establish a Common European Asylum System (CEAS). The system aims to uphold and improve the quality of protection within the EU. In this regard, some States are pursuing pragmatic strategies to distinguish between economic migrants and those in need of international protection. The overall picture is one of asylum-seekers and other migrants facing tighter border controls as Western European States try to stem illegal immigration. In some of these countries, the courts have played an important role in resisting attempts to water down protection standards. Sweden, France and Greece continue to receive the highest number of asylum applicants per capita.

In France, UNHCR collaborates with the Office Français de Protection des Réfugiés et Apatrides (OFPRA) and remains a member of the Commission des Recours des Réfugiés (CRR). Furthermore, it expects to build on experience gained through the reception of 500 Iraqi refugees in 2008 to foster resettlement in the country.