19 October 2017
The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee has today outlined its proposed reforms to the Dublin Regulation – an important piece of legislation that details which Member States’ should handle asylum claims.
If approved by the European Parliament next week, it will put pressure on the Council to take “meaningful links” into consideration, rather than forcing refugees to claim asylum in their first country of entry in the European Union. It will also require new protections to safeguard children.
Jean Lambert, London’s Green MEP and the Green Party’s migration spokesperson, was shadow rapporteur [the leading Greens/EFA representative] on the committee’s proposal. She welcomes the progress, adding:
“The Dublin system has been dysfunctional for years and that failure has come at a terrible human cost. We are pleased that the European Parliament is agreed on scrapping the first country of entry criteria which has seen disproportionate pressure piled on a few Member States. The new relocation measures will help ensure a fairer sharing of responsibility across the EU.
“We need an asylum policy that better reflects the needs of applicants. Family ties, social and cultural connections and language can all have a big impact on people’s ability to integrate into their new community. That’s why we have pushed for greater consideration to be given to the meaningful links that asylum seekers may have to EU Member States and for them to have a voice on where they are to be received.
“The European Parliament has set out much needed reforms. It is now for the Member States to unblock progress at the European Council.”
The Dublin Regulation sets the criteria to determine the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application lodged in the EU. Some of the key changes included in the compromise are:
Replacement of the first country of entry criterion with a permanent and automatic mechanism of relocation. This is a major departure from the current Dublin system. It would give priority to relocation for family reunification, minors, applicants with previous residence documents or visas issued by a Member State, educational titles, dependency, sponsorship, discretionary clause, and relocation of applicants who do not fall under any of the previous categories through an automated relocation system. This system would provide the applicant with a choice among the four Member States with the lowest number of asylum applications in relation to a reference key for fair distribution.
Quicker family reunification procedure. As soon as there are indications that an applicant has a family member in a Member State, he or she would be relocated to that Member State. It will be a duty of the receiving Member State to verify the family link and examine the application.
Replacing the sanctions approach with an approach based on incentives/disincentives. The compromises replace sanctions with a different approach based on incentives to comply with the system.