14 March 2014

As the Stockholm programme, the policy framework in the area of justice and home Affairs from 2010 to 2014 comes to an end in December 2014, the European Council will in June 2014 set the strategic guidelines for freedom, security and justice policies. The European Commission has this week given its views on these strategic guidelines.

According to the Commission, the EU’s resettlement record has been relatively modest and the commitment to resettlement needs to be increased as it can provide long-term solutions to people identified by UNHCR as being in need of protection. The Commission also states that Protected Entry Procedures – which would enable people to approach embassies from EU countries in third countries with the purpose of claiming asylum – could complement resettlement.

The Commission also proposes to initiate a feasibility study on possible joint processing of asylum claims outside of the EU, without affecting the right to claim asylum within the EU Member States.

“Any feasibility study on joint processing outside the EU should fully assess not only the legal, economic and social implications of joint processing for EU Member States and hosting countries alike, but also its implications for the protection of the fundamental rights of the individuals whose asylum applications would be processed in such a system,” stated Michael Diedring, ECRE’s Secretary General, during a conference on the future of home affairs policies in January.

The European Commission stresses the need to explore ways of achieving more responsibility sharing between Member States and underlines that Member States should support others that are facing high temporary pressure on their asylum systems.

The European Commission also underlines the need to evaluate, and if necessary, amend the existing framework on temporary protection to make it a more practical and flexible instrument.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 14 March 2014
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