30 January 2015

If this is in their best interests, children without family members legally residing in the EU should have their asylum applications examined where the child is present after having lodged an asylum application, even if the child has applied earlier for asylum in other countries. That is the recommendation of a group of Christian NGOs on the Commission’s proposal to amend the Dublin III Regulation. The NGOs welcome the Commission’s proposal and the position of the European Parliament’s Rapporteur and argue that the position currently discussed at the Council would run against the objective of ensuring the best interests of the child as it would result in the Member State that already has taken a decision at first instance regarding the substance of the asylum application remaining the responsible Member State.

The NGOs argue that children’s asylum cases can be rendered long if they are sent back to another EU Member State under the Dublin Regulation and this obstacle to receiving a prompt decision is not in the best interests of the child.

Furthermore, the organisations support the Meijers Committee’s opinion that effective remedies must also be possible for children to challenge a decision not to transfer them to a Member State, responsible under the Regulation, to which the child wishes to go.

In addition, the organisations call for the UNHCR Guidelines on Determining the Best Interests of the Child to be included in the Regulation’s recital in order to guide Member States.

The Commission proposal, tabled last June, seeks to bring the Dublin Regulation into compliance with the C-648/11 MA & Others judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 30 January 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.