ECRE has published its Comments on the European Commission’s proposal for a Qualification Regulation. This proposal defines the criteria for obtaining refugee status or subsidiary protection in the EU and the content of international protection. ECRE is concerned that the proposal will have negative consequences for protection standards in the EU.

One of the changes raising concern for protection standards is the stricter, mandatory rules foreseen in relation to the internal protection alternative. This would oblige states to reject asylum applications if they find that a person could have sought protection in another part of their home country. This and other expanded options for excluding persons from refugee status or subsidiary protection – for example under the exclusion grounds or the problematic “revocation and non-renewal” clauses – run a real risk of denying status to those in need of it. These changes also risk further distancing the Common European Asylum System from the refugee protection standards set by the 1951 Refugee Convention.

With the new proposal refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection continue to receive different rights without justification. The distinction of the two statuses comes with differential treatment between holders in relation to social assistance, the duration of residence permits and the corollary provisions on review of status. Upholding this distinction has a substantial impact on the rights subsidiary protection holders are entitled to.

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