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Common procedure for asylum

08-03-2021

As part of the common European asylum system (CEAS), the Asylum Procedures Directive sets out procedures for Member States for granting and withdrawing international protection in accordance with the Qualification Directive. Following the large influx of asylum-seekers to the European Union after 2014, the directive came under criticism for being too complex and for leaving Member States too broad discretion, leading to differences in treatment and outcomes. On 13 July 2016, as part of the reform ...

As part of the common European asylum system (CEAS), the Asylum Procedures Directive sets out procedures for Member States for granting and withdrawing international protection in accordance with the Qualification Directive. Following the large influx of asylum-seekers to the European Union after 2014, the directive came under criticism for being too complex and for leaving Member States too broad discretion, leading to differences in treatment and outcomes. On 13 July 2016, as part of the reform of the CEAS, the Commission published a proposal to replace the current directive with a regulation establishing a common procedure for international protection applicable in all participating Member States. The choice of a directly applicable regulation is expected to bring about harmonisation of the procedures, ensuring same steps, timeframes and safeguards across the EU. The 2016 proposal having reached deadlock, the Commission proposed an amended regulation on 23 September 2020 under its new pact on asylum and migration, suggesting targeted amendments to help overcome certain contentious issues relating in particular to the border procedure and return. The amended proposal is currently being examined by the co-legislators with a view to fixing their positions in order to resume trilogue negotiations shortly. Fourth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Asylum procedures at the border

13-11-2020

Fast-tracking procedures at European Union external borders for determining whether individuals are entitled to international protection is a priority in the proposed Pact on Migration and Asylum. This European Implementation Assessment concludes that current Member State practice does not result in uniform and effective reviews of applications for international protection on the basis of a fair process. In particular, certain Member States apply time-lines within which no serious consideration of ...

Fast-tracking procedures at European Union external borders for determining whether individuals are entitled to international protection is a priority in the proposed Pact on Migration and Asylum. This European Implementation Assessment concludes that current Member State practice does not result in uniform and effective reviews of applications for international protection on the basis of a fair process. In particular, certain Member States apply time-lines within which no serious consideration of an application is feasible. Furthermore, applicants are placed in detention or restricted in their freedom of movement without considering alternatives and deprived of opportunities to effectively exercise their procedural rights. A number of recommendations are made to address the shortcomings identified in future legal and practical arrangements for border procedures.

Reforming asylum and migration management

30-10-2020

In September 2020, the European Commission submitted a proposal on asylum and migration management, to replace the 2013 Dublin Regulation that determines the EU Member State responsible for examining asylum applications. While the proposal 'essentially preserves' the current criteria for determining this responsibility, it would also make changes and additions to the regulation, especially on solidarity and responsibility-sharing for asylum-seekers among Member States. The proposal comes after a ...

In September 2020, the European Commission submitted a proposal on asylum and migration management, to replace the 2013 Dublin Regulation that determines the EU Member State responsible for examining asylum applications. While the proposal 'essentially preserves' the current criteria for determining this responsibility, it would also make changes and additions to the regulation, especially on solidarity and responsibility-sharing for asylum-seekers among Member States. The proposal comes after a failed attempt to reform EU asylum policy following the 2015 migration crisis. While the migratory context has changed since, both in terms of arrivals and the composition of flows, the migration situation remains fragile, as evidenced by pressures on national asylum systems and continual disembarkations after search and rescue operations. According to the Commission, addressing this situation requires a relaunch of the reform of the common European asylum system to achieve a more efficient, fair and harmonised framework that is more resistant to future migratory pressures. The new system would ensure international protection to those who need it and be effective and humane towards those who have to be returned. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Amending Budget No 5/2020: Continuation of support to refugees in response to the Syria crisis

07-07-2020

Draft Amending Budget No 5/2020 (DAB 5/2020) accompanies the proposed decision of the European Parliament and of the Council to mobilise the Contingency Margin in order to continue support to refugees and host communities in response to the Syria crisis. Under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) heading 4, 'Global Europe', €100 million in commitment and payment appropriations is proposed as resilience support to refugees and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon, whereas €485 million in commitment ...

Draft Amending Budget No 5/2020 (DAB 5/2020) accompanies the proposed decision of the European Parliament and of the Council to mobilise the Contingency Margin in order to continue support to refugees and host communities in response to the Syria crisis. Under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) heading 4, 'Global Europe', €100 million in commitment and payment appropriations is proposed as resilience support to refugees and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon, whereas €485 million in commitment appropriations and €68 million in payment appropriations is proposed as urgent humanitarian support to refugees in Turkey under the Contingency Margin. The European Parliament is expected to vote on the Council position on DAB 5/2020 and the proposal to mobilise the Contingency Margin during its July plenary session.

Implementation of the EU trust funds and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey: Overview

16-03-2020

The EU trust funds (TFs) for external action and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey are innovative tools first introduced under the current multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2014-2020 period, as made possible by the 2013 Financial Regulation (FR) applicable to the EU budget. Their objective has been to facilitate a swifter and more flexible response to emerging crises and fast moving events, for which funds earmarked in advance had proved insufficient. The EU has set up four trust funds ...

The EU trust funds (TFs) for external action and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey are innovative tools first introduced under the current multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2014-2020 period, as made possible by the 2013 Financial Regulation (FR) applicable to the EU budget. Their objective has been to facilitate a swifter and more flexible response to emerging crises and fast moving events, for which funds earmarked in advance had proved insufficient. The EU has set up four trust funds since then, in addition to the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, which, despite some similarities with the trust funds, is a distinct coordination mechanism. The TFs' implementation is ongoing and the Commission reports to the European Parliament regularly on the state of play. Regular reports and evaluations have shown that the EU trust funds have had some positive results, and to some extent met their objectives. However, they have also raised questions. For instance, ad hoc instruments outside the EU budget fall short when it comes to democratic accountability: there is a general need for greater transparency and Parliament scrutiny. Moreover, there is a perceived risk that the TFs could be used to divert development aid funds towards other ends incompatible with official development assistance. While Parliament welcomed the introduction of the EU TFs, acknowledging their advantages, it has insisted that the setting up of instruments outside the EU budget should be the exception to the rule, mostly owing to the above-mentioned concerns. The aim should be to preserve the unity of the EU budget and the principles of accountability, transparency, effectiveness and sound budgetary management, and to safeguard Parliament's right to democratic scrutiny. As argued in a Cost of Non-Europe report, a better coordinated EU development aid budget, incorporating all external assistance, could prove more strategic, bringing efficiency gains, accountability and transparency. This briefing supplements an earlier EPRS briefing on EU trust funds, from November 2015, PE 572.797.

EU-Turkey relations in light of the Syrian conflict and refugee crisis

09-03-2020

Approximately 3.6 million refugees have entered Turkey since the beginning of the civil war in Syria in 2011, the highest number in the region. Despite on-going international and European Union financial and humanitarian support, this ever-increasing refugee presence has resulted in heightened social tensions in Turkey. In the 2019 local elections, the loss of the Istanbul mayoralty by the governing Justice and Development (AK) party was perceived as a major setback for the 'imperial presidency' ...

Approximately 3.6 million refugees have entered Turkey since the beginning of the civil war in Syria in 2011, the highest number in the region. Despite on-going international and European Union financial and humanitarian support, this ever-increasing refugee presence has resulted in heightened social tensions in Turkey. In the 2019 local elections, the loss of the Istanbul mayoralty by the governing Justice and Development (AK) party was perceived as a major setback for the 'imperial presidency' of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Istanbul's new mayor, Ekrem İmamoğlu (Republican People's Party, CHP), played a leading role in nurturing aversion for Syrian refugees, stating that Turkey was managing the refugees badly and that 'people are unhappy'. Some Turkish politicians also regard refugees as a security threat – a trend that has grown since September 2019 when the Turkish military began Operation Peace Spring in north-east Syria, with the aim of containing the Kurds and creating a 'safe zone' to which Syrian refugees could return. The Turkish military operation in Syria, as well as the Turkish incursion into Libya, and other geostrategic issues, such as gas drilling disputes with Cyprus, have led relations between the EU and Turkey, already tainted by the drop in democratic standards since the failed military coup in 2016, to deteriorate further. Repeated threats by Erdoğan that Turkey would 'open the gates' and let the refugees enter the EU materialised on 28 February 2020, when Turkey opened its borders with Greece, setting the scene for a new refugee crisis. A swift European response, with the presence of the presidents of the main EU institutions in Greece on 3 March 2020, demonstrated the unity and will to face this critical situation together. Past experience, in particular the 2015 refugee crisis, has however highlighted the weaknesses in the internal and external dimensions of the EU's migration policy. The current crisis is both a stress-test and an opportunity for the EU to clarify its own strategic position in order to develop a new consolidated geopolitical blueprint for the whole Mediterranean and Middle East that would not only tackle the ambition and behaviour of regional powers such as Turkey, but also place the EU on an equal footing with other global powers active in the region.

Family reunification rights of refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection

14-02-2020

Separation of family members can have devastating consequences on their well-being and ability to rebuild their lives. This is true for everybody, but especially so for persons who have fled persecution or serious harm and have lost family during forced displacement and flight. In the case of beneficiaries of international protection, family separation can affect their ability to engage in many aspects of the integration process, from education and employment to putting down roots, as well as harming ...

Separation of family members can have devastating consequences on their well-being and ability to rebuild their lives. This is true for everybody, but especially so for persons who have fled persecution or serious harm and have lost family during forced displacement and flight. In the case of beneficiaries of international protection, family separation can affect their ability to engage in many aspects of the integration process, from education and employment to putting down roots, as well as harming their physical and emotional health. That is why family reunification is a fundamental aspect of bringing normality to the lives of such people. While EU law ensures refugees and holders of subsidiary protection – the two types of beneficiaries of international protection – equal treatment in most areas, differences remain, among others, as regards family reunification in accordance with the Family Reunification Directive. Unlike refugees, beneficiaries of subsidiary protection do not enjoy the favourable conditions associated with the right to family reunification. After 2015, most EU Member States witnessed a significant increase in the number of asylum-seekers arriving in their territory, paralleled by an increase in the number of beneficiaries of international protection seeking reunification with their families. To establish some form of control over this unprecedented flow of people, Member States shifted away from awarding refugee status towards granting subsidiary protection, thus restricting the possibility of beneficiaries to reunite with their families. According to many legal experts, the fact that beneficiaries of subsidiary protection face stricter requirements regarding family reunification than do refugees disregards the particular circumstances related to their forced displacement and the corresponding difficulties they are likely to face in meeting these stricter requirements.

Situation of migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina

14-11-2019

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has become a transit route for migrants heading towards western Europe since early 2018. Around 8 000 migrants are currently present in the country, mainly originating from southern Asia and the Middle East. Reception capacities were expanded in 2018, using EU funds, but remain insufficient. In 2019, BiH has been unable to establish additional locations for temporary reception centres, despite EU funds being available. Access to asylum in BiH is also effectively being ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has become a transit route for migrants heading towards western Europe since early 2018. Around 8 000 migrants are currently present in the country, mainly originating from southern Asia and the Middle East. Reception capacities were expanded in 2018, using EU funds, but remain insufficient. In 2019, BiH has been unable to establish additional locations for temporary reception centres, despite EU funds being available. Access to asylum in BiH is also effectively being denied to migrants that seek to claim it. Recently, local authorities in the Una-Sana Canton (Bihać), which have been shouldering most of the burden of migration management, have resorted to action such as restricting movement and forcibly transferring migrants to the Vučjak site, which is unsuitable for human occupation on account of severe health and safety risks for its residents. The government of Croatia has meanwhile been accused by some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international organisations of pushing migrants back into BiH, in violation of international norms on non-refoulement. Croatia has committed to investigate allegations of mistreatment of migrants and refugees at its external borders. The lack of appropriate policy responses in BiH has led to a humanitarian crisis in the Una-Sana Canton. In the absence of timely and serious preparation, and without better internal coordination among state-level and local authorities, BiH may face an even stronger humanitarian emergency this upcoming winter.

Reception of asylum-seekers - recast Directive

29-03-2019

States must treat asylum-seekers and refugees according to the appropriate standards laid down in human rights and refugee law. The current migration crisis revealed wide divergences in the level of reception conditions provided by Member States. While some are facing problems in ensuring adequate and dignified treatment of applicants, in others the standards of reception provided are more generous. This has led to secondary movements of asylum-seekers and refugees, and has put pressure on certain ...

States must treat asylum-seekers and refugees according to the appropriate standards laid down in human rights and refugee law. The current migration crisis revealed wide divergences in the level of reception conditions provided by Member States. While some are facing problems in ensuring adequate and dignified treatment of applicants, in others the standards of reception provided are more generous. This has led to secondary movements of asylum-seekers and refugees, and has put pressure on certain Member States. The aim of the proposed recast directive, which would replace the current Reception Conditions Directive, is to ensure greater harmonisation of reception standards and more equal treatment of asylum-seekers across all Member States, as well as to avoid ‘asylum shopping’ whereby asylum-seekers choose the Member State with the highest protection standards for their application. Although the co-legislators reached provisional agreement on the proposal in trilogue, Coreper was not able to confirm the Council’s support for that text and trilogue negotiations have yet to restart. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

The integration of Refugees in Denmark, Finland and France

15-03-2019

This study presents a comparative overview of recent policy developments in Denmark, Finland and France. The focus of the analysis is on progress achieved in the last three years in the adaptation of the reception and integration system for the high numbers of new arrivals and on the main challenges encountered. Special attention is given to changes in perceptions, public opinion and political discourse with respect to the asylum and integration of refugees and how this influenced policy strategy ...

This study presents a comparative overview of recent policy developments in Denmark, Finland and France. The focus of the analysis is on progress achieved in the last three years in the adaptation of the reception and integration system for the high numbers of new arrivals and on the main challenges encountered. Special attention is given to changes in perceptions, public opinion and political discourse with respect to the asylum and integration of refugees and how this influenced policy strategy. The study has been commissioned bey Policy Department A at the request of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee.

Εξωτερικός συντάκτης

Manuela SAMEK LODOVICI, Serena Marianna DRUFUCA, Anthea GALEA

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