Saturday

7th Dec 2019

EU asylum reform to include migrant-sharing law

  • The commission proposes to share asylum seekers according to "the relative size, wealth and absorption capacities of the member states" . (Photo: Fotomovimiento)

The European Commission is planning to propose a permanent migrant-relocation system in order to ease the burden on front-line states such as Greece and Italy.

The idea is set out in an options paper, seen by EUobserver, to be unveiled to press on Wednesday (6 April).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

  • "Migration will continue to be one of the defining issues for Europe for the coming decades" (Photo: frontex.europa.eu)

It envisages a “corrective fairness mechanism” that would allow “adjustments in allocation” among member states so that countries on the EU’s external borders are not overwhelmed.

The permanent relocation scheme would be triggered in cases of emergency based on a pre-defined threshold.

Another option, the paper said, is to establish a completely new system of allocating asylum applications in the EU.

Under current asylum law, the so-called Dublin regulation, EU states can forcibly return migrants to the country where they first entered the bloc and requested asylum.

The EU's 'defining issue'

But the new proposal said responsibility for asylum applications would be “primarily allocated on the basis of a distribution key reflecting the relative size, wealth and absorption capacities of the member states”.

It also said the asylum law reforms should discourage irregular movement of refugees between member states and crack down on migrants choosing which EU jurisdiction they file their claim in.

The commission is floating the ideas in the option paper before it presents a formal legal proposal on 4 May.

The current system has failed to cope with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants. Thousands are stranded in Greece, and many people have drowned attempting to get to the EU.

The commission paper warned that people would keep on coming, and that migration would “continue to be one of the defining issues for Europe for the coming decades”.

It also said the EU needed young, skilled immigrants in order to offset its own ageing population and that Europe should create safe ways for people to claim protection.

One idea for the new law is to get states to agree a maximum duration of the asylum application procedure.

Another idea is to check if the person is still in need of protection before granting him or her long-term residence status or renewing their residence permit.

Sanctioning asylum seekers

The new law might also allow asylum seekers to be sanctioned for leaving the country where their case is being processed.

It would also be made clear that refugees are entitled to rights and benefits only in the country that has granted them protection. There would also be a possibility to detain people who have absconded or are deemed likely to leave.

The draft communication said there was a need to reinforce the Eurodac system, the EU’s migrant fingerprinting regime.

The EU commission proposed new powers for EASO, the EU’s asylum agency, saying that in future it would be able to monitor and evaluate member states’ policies.

EASO could step in emergency situations in EU states to assist in asylum case-handling and reception. It could step in even if the host states did not ask for it, along the same lines as a previous proposal for an EU border guard force.

Ideas on safe paths to EU protection included “structured” resettlement, setting out common rules for admission and distribution, and launching targeted EU resettlement initiatives.

Greece gets two-week deadline for border plan

Greece gets two weeks from the EU commission to come up with a plan to better manage the passport-free Schengen zone's external borders, or face an extention of border checks.

News in Brief

  1. Greece denies access to fair asylum process, report says
  2. Report: Self-regulation of social media 'not working'
  3. Turkey: Greek expulsion of Libyan envoy 'outrageous'
  4. Merkel coalition may survive, says new SPD co-leader
  5. Von der Leyen Ethiopia visit a 'political statement'
  6. Over 5,500 scientists ask EU to protect freshwater life
  7. Iran defies EU and UN on ballistic missiles
  8. Committee of the Regions: bigger budget for Green Deal

Opinion

Europe's refugee policy is test of its true 'way of life'

As ex-national leaders, we know it's not easy to withstand public pressures and put collective interests ahead of domestic concerns. But without strong institutional leadership, EU values themselves risk ringing hollow, not least to those seeking protection on Europe's shores.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. Russia makes big promises to Arctic peoples on expansion
  2. UK election plus EU summit in focus This WEEK
  3. Migrants paying to get detained in Libyan centres
  4. Searching for solidarity in EU asylum policy
  5. Will Michel lead on lobbying transparency at Council?
  6. Blood from stone: What did British PR firm do for Malta?
  7. EU Commission defends Eurobarometer methodology
  8. Timmermans warns on cost of inaction on climate

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us