A study commissioned by the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) of the European Parliament examines the need and potential for new approaches to ensure access to protection for asylum seekers, including joint processing and distribution of asylum applicants among EU Member States.
The study underlines that ensuring greater compliance with EU and international legal standards in the reception and treatment of asylum seekers is essential to ensure access to protection. Indeed, it is noted that if the reception conditions stipulated under the CEAS were assured in all Member States, asylum seekers would be less likely to move onwards within the EU. According to the research, arrangements for redistributing asylum seekers, particularly involving coercion, risk diverting resources and attention from the central task of improving the operation of national systems. Instead, the Dublin system should acknowledge the practical realities of movements across borders within the Schengen area, and thus be applied in a way that avoids the use of coercion, taking into account the needs and preferences of asylum seekers. This could be achieved through a wider use of the family unity criteria under the Dublin Regulation and of discretionary grounds that could allow individuals with links to other persons or a particular country to be reunited.
In addition, joint processing arrangements can provide a means to enhance the operation of national asylum systems, fostering cooperation among Member States with a view to both enhancing the efficiency of and compliance with legal standards.
Finally, mutual recognition of positive decisions on protection claims across the EU is proposed as a step towards the establishment of a uniform status of asylum that could also facilitate the free movement of refugees.
For further information:
- European Commission, Directorate- General Home Affairs, Study on the Feasibility and Legal and Practical Implications of Establishing a Mechanism for the Joint Processing of Asylum Applications on the Territory of the EU’, 13 February 2013
- ECRE, Enhancing intra-EU solidarity tools to improve quality and fundamental rights protection in the Common European Asylum System, January 2013
This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 14 November 2014. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.