EU legal framework on asylum and irregular immigration 'on arrival'

18-03-2015

With asylum-seekers and immigrants still dying off the shores of European Union Member States, EU asylum and migration policies are high on the political agenda. The newly completed Common European Asylum System and the many pieces of legislation on irregular immigration at EU level have not succeeded in stopping further tragedies in the Mediterranean. Calls are therefore increasingly being voiced for a 'holistic' approach to asylum and irregular immigration. However, the concrete design of this holistic approach is the subject of difficult policy choices, seeking to strike the right balance between humanitarian aspects and security concerns. According to many stakeholders and experts the way forward in EU asylum and migration policy should necessarily pass through a new legal reform taking the approach of better burden-sharing between Member States. Others plead for the operational instruments of the newly adopted legislation to be fully exhausted first before embarking on further reforms. The European Commission has launched work on a comprehensive European Agenda on Migration, to be presented in May, and stated already that the focus will be placed on securing effective implementation of the existing legislation rather than proposing any further modifications. This briefing takes stock of the existing legislative and policy framework in the field of asylum and irregular immigration and highlights the causes of friction.

With asylum-seekers and immigrants still dying off the shores of European Union Member States, EU asylum and migration policies are high on the political agenda. The newly completed Common European Asylum System and the many pieces of legislation on irregular immigration at EU level have not succeeded in stopping further tragedies in the Mediterranean. Calls are therefore increasingly being voiced for a 'holistic' approach to asylum and irregular immigration. However, the concrete design of this holistic approach is the subject of difficult policy choices, seeking to strike the right balance between humanitarian aspects and security concerns. According to many stakeholders and experts the way forward in EU asylum and migration policy should necessarily pass through a new legal reform taking the approach of better burden-sharing between Member States. Others plead for the operational instruments of the newly adopted legislation to be fully exhausted first before embarking on further reforms. The European Commission has launched work on a comprehensive European Agenda on Migration, to be presented in May, and stated already that the focus will be placed on securing effective implementation of the existing legislation rather than proposing any further modifications. This briefing takes stock of the existing legislative and policy framework in the field of asylum and irregular immigration and highlights the causes of friction.