Henrik Enderlein and Nicole Koenig (Jacques Delors Institute)
In 2015, more than a million asylum applications were submitted in the European Union, which was hitherto the highest number ever filed during its existence. The Common European Asylum System (CEAS) is thus under enormous pressure and one of its basic pillars – Dublin III – has come under scrutiny. According to the mechanism based on this regulation, the biggest responsibility is imposed on the so-called first-entry states. Under the influx of migrants, the system is failing to curb asylum applications in several countries at once, which is actually one of the primary functions of the system. A sensible mechanism for the sharing of responsibility is also absent, which means that some states tend to disregard the rules of the CEAS.
Dublin III system would need to undergo a thorough revamp. This should include the harmonization of the Member States’ standards so that the processing of asylum applications across different countries is comparable. A European Asylum Agency should be created as well to ensure Member States’ compliance with the existing legal norms. Furthermore, the EU should also introduce the so-called countervailing sanctions. If the state was willing to accept more migrants than the proposed number, it should receive financial compensation and, by contrast, if a Member State failed to accept the given number of migrants, it should pay for making this decision.
This should be implemented through the Schengen Fund, to which countries would either contribute or draw from it, depending on how many migrants they would be willing to accept in their territory. Finally, collaboration between the migrants’ countries of origin and transit countries should increase as well. In this context, the Union could create a special visa that would guarantee an entry into the EU for a limited period of time under the condition that the applicant will be looking for a job here. This could encourage the Third World countries to cooperate more closely.
Europe has now found itself in a position where it is surrounded by many frozen conflicts and the external migration pressure has ceased to be something special, but it is instead becoming an inseparable part of everyday life. A strong and stable mechanism for the sharing of costs, responsibilities and risks thus represents a political approach, from which each Member State can benefit. Hence, the Union should take advantage of the current refugee crisis to improve the CEAS and learn from its shortcomings.