On 9 March 2017, Parliament’s lead MEP on the reform of the Dublin system, Swedish liberal Cecilia Wikström, will present her draft report to the Civil Liberties Committee.
The draft report is a first response to the Commission’s proposal, presented in May 2016, for reform of the Dublin regulation. This regulation, which determines which member state is responsible for processing an asylum application, constitutes the cornerstone of the EU asylum system, which is currently undergoing a major revamp.
In the report, Ms Wikström proposes ways to remedy the weaknesses of the current EU asylum rules, which became obvious in 2015 when more than one million people fled war, conflicts and persecution and applied for international protection in the EU, resulting in the near-total collapse of the system. To ensure that the new asylum system will work in practice, the rapporteur sets out three key priorities:
The aim is to ensure that member states on the southern borders are no longer left to shoulder a disproportionate share of the EU’s obligations to applicants for international protection. The system should not encourage member states to turn a blind eye or apply “wave-through” policies, and asylum seekers should be certain that their applications will be treated swiftly and fairly in all countries.
The rapporteur’s key proposals are:
Parliament’s lead MEP is Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE). As rapporteur on the Dublin regulation, she is responsible for drafting a first response to the Commission’s proposal (the draft report), steering negotiations through Parliament and then, once a majority has agreed on a common position, heading negotiations with the EU member states.
In addition, the Parliament’s political groups have each appointed an MEP of their own to negotiate on their behalf (“shadow rapporteurs”). These are:
EPP: Alessandra Mussolini (IT)
S&D: Elly Schlein (IT)
ECR: Daniel Dalton (UK)
GUE: Cornelia Ernst (DE)
Greens: Jean Lambert (UK)
EFDD: Laura Ferrara (IT)
The lead committee on the substance of the proposals is the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee. The committees on Foreign Affairs, Budgets and Legal Affairs will also give opinions. The lead MEPs in these committees are:
Foreign Affairs: Ramona Nicole Mănescu (EPP, RO)
Budgets: Gérard Deprez (ALDE, FR)
Legal Affairs: Marie-Christine Boutonnet (ENF, FR)
In addition to the Dublin proposal itself, several other pieces of legislation are also on the table to complete the overhaul of the EU asylum system, notably proposals laying down:
The Civil Liberties Committee recently backed a proposal on the reform of the EU Asylum Office, EASO (lead MEP Peter Niedermüller - S&D, HU), currently being negotiated with the Council and Commission in three-way “trilogue” talks. MEPs are also working on a Union Resettlement Framework to streamline the EU’s acceptance of UN quota refugees (lead MEP Malin Björk - GUE, SE). A proposal for a Blue Card on legal migration is also in the pipeline (lead MEP Claude Moraes - S&D, UK).
The draft report will form the basis for further discussions within the Civil Liberties Committee and Parliament as a whole with a view to defining Parliament’s negotiating position in the talks with the member states on the final shape of the text.
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