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Lead MEP for the reform of the asylum system calls for more solidarity and sharing of responsibility among EU countries. © European Parliament 

All EU countries must share responsibility for hosting asylum seekers arriving in Europe. So it follows those that refuse to do so should not get solidarity funding from other EU member states, Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE), lead MEP on the reform the Dublin asylum system told the Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday.

Ms Wikström presented her draft report on the proposal to review the Dublin III Regulation, which determines the member state responsible for processing an asylum application. She proposed making several amendments to the Commission´s proposal:

  • no option for member states refusing to accept asylum seekers to pay a “solidarity contribution” of €250,000 per person instead. If an EU country refuses to participate in the relocation system, then it should not be eligible for solidarity payments from other member states, through the European Structural and Investment Funds,
  • transfers of asylum-seekers to other EU countries should be automatically triggered when the first country has reached 100% of its allocated share (not 150%, as proposed by the European Commission),
  • no “admissibility checks” ahead of relocation,
  • faster family reunification and special focus on children, and
  • applicants for international protection should have the option to register as a group (maximum 30 people) upon arrival in Europe. They would then be transferred together. 

You can read more about the rapporteur´s proposal in this background note.

Many Civil Liberties Committee MEPs voiced support for Ms Wikström’s proposals. A majority of speakers agreed that the EU’s current asylum rules need a thorough overhaul, and underlined that more solidarity among member states is indispensable. They also expressed concern that member states are still not eager to accept a mandatory relocation system.

Next steps

MEPs have until 23 March to table amendments to Ms Wikström´s proposals. Once the committee has approved its report and a negotiating mandate for talks with the Council has been endorsed by Parliament as a whole, informal talks with the Council can begin, with the aim of reaching an agreement on the final form of the legislation.