Enhancing the Common European Asylum System and Alternatives to Dublin

Written by | Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
European Values

Elspeth Guild, Cathryn Costello, Madeline Garlick and Violeta Moreno-Lax (European Parliament)

The EU is now faced with two important challenges – first, how to prevent those individuals looking for international protection in the EU from undertaking dangerous journeys and risking their lives, and second, how to organize the redistribution of responsibility and costs incurred by the immigration between Member States. The answer to these questions can be found in the reform of the current Common European Asylum System, whose main building block is the Dublin system. Not only that the Dublin Convention (1990), Dublin II Regulation (2003) and the current Dublin III Regulation (2013), all of which form the Dublin system, do not contain any measures regarding the redistribution of responsibility for asylum seekers, they are also becoming an obstacle for either side to find a solution based on solidarity. Instead, they tend to force Member States to use the regulations that have proven to be completely inefficient during 20 years of their existence.

The false assumption that norms are common throughout the EU can be considered one of the biggest injustices of this system. It is widely known that in reality the degree of the accepted and approved applications in individual countries varies substantially and in some cases it is even lower than international and European standards. Also in the case when the claim of an asylum seeker is quickly solved and the applicant is recognized as a refugee, this newly acquired status is only valid in that one country, which basically leads to the deepening of the injustice based on the permanent allocation.

The Dublin system also does not offer any solution to the high mortality rate of those refugees that are trying to get to Europe via the Mediterranean. A number of studies suggest that the problem lies mostly in the introduction of mandatory visas, transportation sanctions and other measures in the form of border controls. Based on such conditions, people seeking asylum do not have another option but to set out on a dangerous journey, often with the help of smugglers. Given these circumstances, it is necessary to find a better alternative to the Dublin system, which will replace the original dysfunctional rules and create a space for establishing mechanisms that will treat refugees as human beings and respect their rights. Yet another important part of the new system should also be the provision of sufficient information well in advance so that the asylum seekers had the opportunity to consider all their options, which would also help avoid more human tragedies.

(The study can be downloaded here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2015/519234/IPOL_STU(2015)519234_EN.pdf)

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