20 March 2015

A report published by the Migration Policy Institute Europe provides evidence that the twin goals of the Dublin system, preventing asylum seekers from applying for international protection in more than one EU country and providing quickly protection to persons in need, are not being achieved.

Ongoing inefficiency with asylum procedures is noted with lengthy access to protection. Additionally, few people are actually returned to the country deemed responsible for their asylum application while many asylum seekers move further from the first European country they enter to other European countries. Furthermore, often Member States are exchanging similar numbers of asylum seekers and delays are breaching both International human rights law as well as European law.

The report also notes that although the Dublin III criteria to determine which state is responsible to examine an asylum application places family unity and the welfare of unaccompanied children at the top, the criteria is misapplied leading to, on many occasions, the disruption of family unity. Of all the times in 2013 that a Member State requested another EU country to take responsibility over the examination of an asylum application, only 1.8% of the requests were due to family reasons. 

Furthermore, applicants returned to another country under the Dublin procedure may have to wait up to a year before their asylum claims are considered, exposing them to insufficient reception conditions, and the potential of being sent back to their country of origin where they might be at risk.

The report concludes that the Dublin III Regulation has not touched upon the problem at the heart of the Dublin system; the differences in Member States’ capacity for receiving asylum applicants; processing their applications; and integrating the individuals into society. The report calls for more research into the implementation of Dublin procedures in practice, Dublin’s costs, impact of returns on the integration prospects of refugees and Member States’ views on Dublin.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 20 March 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.