EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers have voted to adopt three of the four remaining pieces of legislation making up the Common European Asylum System – the recast Asylum Procedures and Reception Conditions directives and the recast Dublin Regulation – at a meeting in Luxembourg on 6 and 7 June.

The European Parliament will now adopt the instruments in a plenary session next week. The EURODAC Regulation will also be voted on at the same plenary session, and adopted by the JHA Council at the end of the month. The other piece of the asylum package, the Qualification Directive, was adopted in December 2011.

The recast asylum legislation includes certain improvements. For instance, all asylum seekers will now, in principle, have the right to be heard in an interview and to submit comments and clarifications after the interview and before a decision is taken on their claim.

However, some other aspects risk undermining the aim of achieving harmonised and high standards of protection across Europe.  For example, the grounds for detention of asylum seekers are so broadly defined that they risk encouraging the systematic detention of asylum seekers instead of making the practice truly exceptional.

Furthermore, unaccompanied children and victims of torture will not be exempt from accelerated and border procedures, making it more difficult for them to access asylum procedures and substantiate their claim.

Moreover, no real progress has been made regarding access for asylum seekers to legal aid. The recast Asylum Procedures Directive does not make it obligatory for Member States to grant free legal assistance and representation at the first instance of the procedure, while at the appeal stage it can be made conditional on the appeal having a tangible prospect of success.

The JHA Council also adopted conclusions on the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the EU and held a signing ceremony for the establishment of a Mobility Partnership between the EU and Morocco.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 07 June 2013
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