- Increasing efficiency as same asylum procedures to apply in all EU member states
- Faster border asylum and return procedures directly after screening, especially for nationalities with lower recognition rates or persons presenting a security threat
- Unaccompanied minors will not be subject to border procedures, unless they pose a security risk
- Independent mechanism for fundamental rights monitoring in each member state
Co-legislators agreed on a faster procedure for granting or withdrawing international protection applicable in all EU member states and replacing national procedures.
The new rules will make the examination of asylum claims more efficient, with a six-month benchmark for a first decision and shorter time-limits for manifestly unfounded or inadmissible claims.
Faster border asylum procedures – which can last up to 12 weeks - can be applied at or in proximity to EU external border or transit zones. Asylum applicants whose claims are rejected should be returned in less than 12 weeks.
People considered a danger to national security or public order, or if the applicant has misled the authorities by presenting false identity or nationality information, and those from countries with asylum recognition rates below 20% will always be subject to the border asylum procedure immediately after screening. MEPs secured agreement on the provision of free legal counselling to applicants in all administrative procedures.
MEPs also ensured that unaccompanied minors would not be subject to border procedures, unless they present a security risk, obtained guarantees that families with children would not be a priority for uptake into the border procedure, and should also be offered appropriate reception conditions. The Commission may recommend a member state suspend border procedures for families with children if appropriate reception conditions are not met.
The adequate capacity at EU level for carrying out the border procedures will be 30,000 reception places and member states will have to ensure they are able to carry out the border procedures on their territory. Each country will have a maximum number of applications (annual cap) it is required to examine in the border procedure, to be determined by the Commission. Adequate capacity will be increased gradually over the three years following the entry into force of the new rules. When maximum capacity is reached asylum applicants will be directed into the ordinary asylum procedure to prevent overcrowding. The Commission will have to determine the “adequate capacity” within two months following their entry into force. Member states will then have six months to comply with the Commission’s decision.
Safe country concepts
MEPs succeeded in including safeguards for the application of the country of first asylum and safe third country concepts, which could only be applied when the applicant cannot provide arguments against. The applicant should always have a reasonable connection to a safe third country. Effective protection in the country of first asylum should entail being allowed to remain on the territory of the third country, access to sufficient means of subsistence and access to healthcare and education. While member states will continue to use national lists of safe countries, in the longer term there should be a convergence towards an EU list of safe third countries and safe countries of origin.
Rapporteur Fabienne Keller (Renew, France) said: “Today Europe has delivered. We are bringing forward a strong common response to migratory challenges, and putting an end to ad-hoc solutions. This Pact will address today’s shortcomings, such as the better management of irregular migration, more efficient asylum procedures, greater solidarity between member states under migratory pressure and more effective returns for those not eligible to stay. We have proven the extremists on the left and right wrong. We will finally have a strong common asylum system based on responsibility and solidarity.”
The provisionally agreed text still needs to be adopted by the Civil Liberties Committee and plenary, as well as the Council, before it can be published in the Official Journal and enter into force.
The new asylum procedures regulation is part of the wider revamp of the EU’s common asylum and migration rules, on which negotiators from Parliament and Council reached a comprehensive deal today. You can find more information here.
The new regulation will replace current asylum procedure directive.