Last week the European Commission presented some options developed in the framework of the review of the Common European Asylum System and launched the discussion on border management and internal security. We have summarised below the most important points presented, in particular of the Dublin Regulation.
Common European Asylum System
First of all, the Commission presented five priority areas where the Common European Asylum System should be structurally improved:
- achieving greater convergence and reducing asylum shopping, through further harmonisation of asylum procedures. The Commission will propose a new Regulation to replace the Asylum Procedures Directive, and a new Regulation to replace the Qualification Directive;
- preventing secondary movements within the EU, though measures to discourage and sanction irregular secondary movements;
- a new mandate for the EU’s asylum agency, that could play a new policy-implementing role as well as a strengthened operational role. This could include operating the distribution mechanism under a reformed Dublin System, monitoring the compliance of Member States with EU asylum rules, identifying measures to remedy shortcomings, and a capacity to take operational measures in emergency situations;
- reinforcing the Eurodac system, to support the application of a reformed Dublin System and facilitate the fight against irregular migration.
The reform of the Dublin Regulation
This regulation is a key legal instrument, which establishes the criteria and mechanisms to identify which Member State is responsible to examine the application for international protection of an asylum seeker. The regulation has been regularly criticised by governments and civil society, as the responsibility for the vast majority of asylum claims has been placed so far on a small number of Member States – a situation which would stretch the capacity of any Member State. This has been not only unsustainable, but also inadequate to respond to the current migration challenges.
The European Commission, aware of the current migration but also political challenges, has opted for presenting options, rather than proposing a draft text. The options on which the European Commission proposed to work are wither streamlining and supplementing the current system with a corrective fairness mechanism, or moving to a new system based on a distribution key.
This option entails the preservation of the Dublin criteria for the allocation of responsibility, supplemented with a structural mechanism for emergency relocation and redistribution to be triggered in specific circumstances, namely when disproportionate pressure is faced by one Member State.
This option entails the creation of a new system for allocating asylum applications, on the basis of a permanent distribution key. This distribution key would reflect the relative size, wealth and absorption capacity of each Member State. In this new system, responsibility would no longer be linked to the point of first entry, highly criticised in the last years.
Stronger and Smarter Information Systems for Borders and Security
The European Commission adopted the Communication on Stronger and Smarter Information Systems for Borders and Security, setting out options on how existing and future information systems could enhance both external border management and internal security in the EU. IN particular, The European Commission proposed to establish an entry-exit system to make faster, easier and stronger the border checks for non-EU nationals. The system will register the name, type of travel document and biometrics and the date and place of entry and exit which will help detect over-stayers and identify undocumented persons in the free-travel Schengen area. The system will also record refusals of entry. To know more about this system, you can read the Entry-Exit System fact sheet.