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European Commission: Current asylum system not sustainable

The Commission has launched a process for a reform of the Common European Asylum System. This week (6 April) it presented options for a reform of the system and for developing safe and legal pathways to Europe.

First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “The refugee crisis has shown the weaknesses in our Common European Asylum System. Let there be no doubt: those who need protection must continue to receive it, and they should not have to put their lives in the hands of people smugglers. But the current system is not sustainable. “

He mentioned that “Different national approaches have fuelled asylum shopping and irregular migration, while we have seen in the ongoing crisis that the Dublin rules have placed too much responsibility on just a few Member States.”

“In the immediate term we have to apply the existing law to stabilise the situation. Beyond that, we need a sustainable system for the future, based on common rules, a fairer sharing of responsibility, and safe legal channels for those who need protection to get it in the EU.”

The Commission states that its proposals set out “the different paths to move towards a more humane and efficient European asylum policy, as well as a better managed legal migration policy.” Based on the feedback it receives, the Commission will then come forward with appropriate proposals.

Building a fair and sustainable common asylum policy

According to the Commission, the large-scale, uncontrolled arrival of migrants and asylum seekers has put a strain not only on many Member States’ asylum systems, but also on the Common European Asylum System as a whole.

The volume and concentration of arrivals has exposed in particular the weaknesses of the Dublin System, which establishes the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application based primarily on the first point of irregular entry. The differing treatment of asylum seekers across Member States has further exacerbated the problem of irregular secondary movements.

The Commission has identified five priority areas where the Common European Asylum System should be structurally improved.

As regards the crucial issue concerning the Dublin Regulation, which requires asylum seekers to apply for asylum in the first EU country in which they arrive, the Commission writes that it “could propose to amend the Dublin Regulation, either by streamlining and supplementing it with a corrective fairness mechanism or by moving to a new system based on a distribution key”.

The Brussels Times (Source: The European Commission)

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