The European Commission has made proposals to reform the Common European Asylum System by creating a fairer, more efficient and more sustainable system for allocating asylum applications among Member States. The basic principle will remain the same – asylum seekers should, unless they have family elsewhere, apply for asylum in the first country they enter – but a new fairness mechanism will ensure no Member State is left with a disproportionate pressure on its asylum system. This reform is intended to form the medium term response to future migratory challenges. For a detailed Q&A see here.
The text proposes a corrective allocation mechanism (“the fairness mechanism“) that will automatically establish when a country is handling a disproportionate number of asylum applications, by reference to the country’s size and wealth. If one country is receiving disproportionate numbers above and beyond that reference (over 150% of the reference number), all further new applicants in that country will (regardless of nationality) be relocated across the EU until the number of applications is back below that level. A Member State will also have the option to temporarily not take part in the reallocation against a solidarity contribution of € 250,000 for each applicant that will go to the receiving Member State. The fairness mechanism will also factor in the effort being made by a Member State to resettle those in need of international protection direct from a third country, in line with the effort to implement legal and safe pathways to Europe. The text sets out clear obligations for asylum applicants to discourage abuses and secondary movements, including the duty to remain in the Member State responsible for their claim, geographic limits to the provision of material reception benefits and proportionate consequences in case of non-compliance. At the same time, the text aims at protecting asylum seekers’ best interests with stronger guarantees for unaccompanied minors and a balanced extension of the definition of family members;
Today’s proposals also include transforming the existing European Asylum Support Office (EASO) into a fully-fledged European Union Agency for Asylum to reflect its enhanced role in the new system and reinforcing of the EU’s fingerprinting database, Eurodac, in order to better manage the asylum system and to help tackle irregular migration.
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