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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

EU Commission sets out piecemeal changes on asylum policy

Refugees Welcome


The European Commission today presented its proposals for reforming the EU’s asylum system. Commenting on the proposals, Green migration spokesperson Jean Lambert said:

“The unravelling chaos in Greece and Turkey has underlined for the umpteenth time that a comprehensive European solution to the refugee crisis is needed, and this implies overhauling the dysfunctional EU framework on asylum law. All EU member states must accept their responsibility for the refugees arriving at EU borders, and not just for the borders themselves. Unfortunately, today’s proposal from the Commission is piecemeal.

“The existing Dublin asylum system is not fit for the task and must be replaced. There needs to be a permanent and fair system for relocating refugees across EU member states, based on solidarity, not an accident of geography. The European asylum agency (EASO) must play an important supporting role but it should not be abused by member states to outsource their responsibilities. It is also essential that the preferences and needs of refugees are taken into account, notably as regards language knowledge and where they already have family contacts. This is essential for facilitating integration. The Commission has also failed to address this in its proposal.”

Jean Lambert is one of the authors of the paper ‘The Green Alternative to the Dublin System‘ paper.

The Dublin system has been dysfunctional for years at great human and financial cost. It has effectively collapsed in the context of the current ‘refugee crisis’. The paper does not advocate returning to ‘pre-Dublin’ days where it was not clear which Member State was responsible for examining an asylum application, but outlines a vision for a new system based on solidarity and responsibility sharing between Member States and which, crucially, takes asylum seekers preferences into account. Without taking preferences into account it will be impossible to build a functional and sustainable system.

The Greens in the European Parliament are calling for the following:

  • A system based on a fair allocation of asylum seekers across EU Member States, based on objective criteria and binding on all Member States
  • A system which is built around the existing ties and preferences of asylum seekers to a certain Member State
  • A system which is based on incentives for asylum seekers to stay in “their” Member State rather than on coercive measures against their onward movement to another Member State
  • An integrated EU asylum system to improve harmonisation and implementation of EU asylum legislation, including substantial integration measures
  • Positive mutual recognition of asylum decisions so that beneficiaries of international protection can move Member States one year following their recognition as refugees
  • Developing the current European Asylum Support Office into a fully-fledged EU asylum agency tasked with ensuring the functioning of the preference based allocation system and the EU asylum system in general.