Revision of the Dublin regulation

In “Promoting our European Way of Life”

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The Dublin III Regulation has been in force as of 1 January 2014 and replaces the 2003 Dublin II Regulation and the original Dublin Convention signed ion 15 June 1990.

On 4 May 2016, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal for reform of the Dublin system. The proposal provides for:

  • new applicants’ relocation from countries receiving disproportionate numbers to other Member States;
  • shorter time limits for sending transfer requests, receiving replies and carrying out transfers of asylum seekers between Member States, and removing shifts of responsibility;
  • discouraging abuse/secondary movements - obliging asylum applicants to remain in the Member State responsible for their claim, geographic limits to the provision of material reception benefits and proportionate consequences in case of non-compliance;
  • stronger guarantees for unaccompanied minors and a balanced extension of the definition of “family members”.

On 19 October 2017, Parliament’s LIBE Committee to which the proposal was assigned (rapporteur: Cecilia Wikström - ALDE, Sweden), adopted a report on the reform and voted to start interinstitutional negotiations and on 6 November 2017, the European Parliament confirmed a mandate for interinstitutional negotiations. The main suggested amendments in the report are:

  • a reference key based on Member States’ population size and economy serving as a reference point in corrective allocation mechanism’s operation;
  • no transfer of asylum applicants representing a security risk between Member States;
  • no transfer between Member States of asylum applicants not needing specific procedural guarantees and considered to be manifestly unlikely to qualify as an international protection beneficiary;
  • processing together of family applications for international protection without prejudice an applicant’s right to lodge an application individually;
  • individual guarantees for minor asylum applicants and assessment of their best interests;
  • links to a particular country as the first relocation criteria;
  • a clear system of incentives and disincentives for asylum applicants to avoid absconding and secondary movements and need to clearly define the meaning of absconding;

The Council endorsed in October 2016 the Slovak Presidency’s three-track approach for examining CEAS reform (examining the Eurodac regulation and on the European Union Agency for Asylum regulation; discussing the Dublin regulation and the Asylum Procedures regulation, Reception Conditions directive and Qualification regulation; technical examination of the regulation establishing a Union Resettlement Framework). At the December 2016 Council meeting the Maltese Presidency announced CEAS and Dublin regulation reform as a major priority, following up on the implementation of measures which have already been agreed to.

In June 2017 the JHA Council meeting continued work on a compromise on the responsibility and solidarity principles’ effective application and also examined articles of the Dublin Regulation relating to guardianship and limiting abuse and secondary movements. In December 2017 the Council pointed out that the Estonian Presidency had tried to consolidate agreement on the more consensual items in bilateral contacts with delegations and to find more common ground on issues where the compromise had not proved possible. It also added that it would further seek consensus during the first half of 2018.

In the meantime, in December 2017 the European Commission referred the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to the Court of Justice of the EU for non-compliance with their legal obligations on relocation, after launching infringement procedures against them in June 2017.

The Bulgarian presidency (January-June 2018) aiming to achieve progress in CEAS reform, including on the Dublin Regulation stressed its aim to continue work on an expert level and prepare a political consensus (general approach) by June 2018, with a major priority on the Dublin Regulation. In search of this consensus the Presidency added that it would leave the question of refugee quotas for last, and instead focus on discussing individual articles of the proposal in search of consensus. 

In the meantime, on 15 February 2018 the Hungarian government announced that it would propose alternative amendments to the Dublin Regulation based on a focus on security and a strict expulsion policy, and rejection of any kind of mandatory admittance quota.

The European Council Conclusions of 28-29 June 2018 focused further on the need for a consensus on Dublin Regulation reform, based on a balance of responsibility and solidarity.

The Austrian Presidency continued looking for a balance between solidarity and responsibility through bilateral meetings with all Member States, discussing the disembarkation element and different forms of solidarity potentially available to Member States under pressure.

Given the difficulties in making any major progress on Dublin reform in the short term, the Romanian presidency focused on advancing as much as possible the other asylum reform files during the time available before the upcoming European Parliament elections.

The Finnish presidency aimed at making progress in adopting a common European asylum system and forming an EU-wide resettlement system with sufficient financial incentives, while also stressing its aim to closely monitor migration routes and maintain situational awareness. In November 2019, it reiterated the need for a crisis mechanism for supporting Member States under specific pressure, building on a holistic and effective approach to handling the situation.

On 4 September 2019 the LIBE Committee appointed a new rapporteur - MEP Fabienne Keller (Renew Europe group). The file is part of unfinished business to be carried over, as announced by the President of the EP at the 2019 October II plenary session.


Author: Anja Radjenovic,


Visit the European Parliament homepage on Migration.


As of 20/03/2024.