ECRE has published its Comments on the Commission proposal for a Regulation establishing a common procedure for international protection in the EU. The proposal aims to transform the Asylum Procedures Directive into a Regulation. This means that rules laid down in the Regulation for conducting asylum procedures become directly enforceable in EU Member States’ national legislation.

The proposal’s very detailed approach, including the definition of the duration of administrative and first level appeals procedures and time limits for lodging appeals, reveals a highly ambitious mind-set with considerable impact on Member States’ practice.

While the introduction of measures such as the mandatory provision of free legal assistance and representation at all stages of the asylum procedure constitute an important safeguard for asylum seekers, ECRE is still highly concerned about the mainstreaming of mandatory safe country and admissibility concepts and about the extremely short deadlines for applicants to comply with often onerous procedural requirements in the proposed common procedure.

This reflects a worrying externalisation trend at EU and national level, and an effort to prioritise administrative efficiency and convenience over the need for a rigorous and careful examination of protection needs in a fair procedure. ECRE warns against such an approach and formulates concrete recommendations to ensure that the common procedure enables asylum seekers to effectively exercise the right to asylum and have their request for international protection assessed in a fair and efficient manner.

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