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Irish Presidency advances towards Common European Asylum System

27.03.2013, 13:36 GMT


The Irish Presidency today marked an important step towards completing the final two legislative measures forming part of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS).

These two legislative measures form part of the Irish Presidency Programme.

Representatives of the Member States approved proposals for compromise texts on the recast of the Asylum Procedures Directive and the Eurodac Regulation which emerged from meetings with the European Parliament last week.  It is hoped that the texts approved by Coreper today will form the basis of an early agreement.

‌Welcoming these developments, the Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, Chair of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, said:

“Completing the Common European Asylum System will be an important milestone towards ensuring the consistent and equitable treatment of asylum seekers irrespective of the Member State in which they present their asylum application.  327,345 asylum applications were received in the European Union in 2012, an increase of 7.8% on the previous year.  It is vitally important that the Union has a system that ensures that procedures for processing applications are both fair and effective but also robust and not open to abuse.  I am pleased that the Irish Presidency has been able to advance discussions with the Parliament and we are now hopeful of reaching an early agreement on this basis.”

The adoption of both of these measures remains subject to the approval of the European Parliament and the Council.

ENDS

Note to editors

The Common European Asylum System (CEAS) is provided for in article 78 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).  It provides that the Union shall develop a common policy on asylum, subsidiary protection and temporary protection with a view to offering appropriate status to any third-country national requiring international protection in accordance with the principle of non-refoulement and the 1951 Geneva Convention on the status of refugees.   

During the first phase of the CEAS (1995 to 2005) three Directives were adopted dealing with minimum standards in respect of qualification for international protection, procedures applicable to applications for asylum and reception conditions for asylum seekers.  The Dublin Regulation was adopted providing for the determination of the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application lodged in one of the Member States.  Financial solidarity was promoted with the establishment of the European Refugee Fund.  The Temporary Protection Directive provides for minimum standards in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons.

In June 2008 the European Commission launched its policy plan on asylum and subsequently has made proposals to recast the Dublin Regulation and the Directives on qualification, procedures and reception conditions.  Also, following a Commission proposal, an EU Regulation was adopted in 2010 to establish a new agency, the European Asylum Support Office, in order to help to improve the implementation of the CEAS and to strengthen practical cooperation among the Member States on asylum.

In addition to the Asylum Procedures Directive and the Eurodac Regulation referred to in the press release above, the following measures comprise the second phase of the Common European Asylum System.

Directive 2011/95/EU of 13 December 2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection, and for the content of the protection granted.

This Directive, in particular, strengthens the criteria for qualification as a beneficiary of international protection, notably the notions of "actors of protection" and "internal protection", as well as the provisions related to the best interests of the child, including tracing of family members of unaccompanied minors. It further approximates the rights granted to refugees and to beneficiaries of subsidiary protection as regards access to employment, recognition of professional qualifications and health care. Finally, the new Directive prolongs the validity of the residence permits issued to beneficiaries of subsidiary protection from one year to two years in cases of renewal.

Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down standards for the reception of asylum seekers (recast)

The amended Reception Conditions Directive will provide better and more harmonised standards of living to applicants for international protection throughout the European Union, irrespective in which Member State the application has been made. Particularly important are the new rules concerning detention and the better standards for vulnerable persons including (unaccompanied) minors.

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (“Dublin Regulation”)

The Dublin Regulation establishes the procedures for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection. The new rules will introduce a mechanism for early warning, preparedness and crisis management. This mechanism is aimed at evaluating the practical functioning of national asylum systems, assisting Member States in need and preventing asylum crises. The mechanism would concentrate on adopting measures to prevent asylum crises from developing rather than addressing the consequences of such crises once they had occurred.

Regulation (EU) No 439/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 establishing a European Asylum Support Office

This Regulation provided for the establishment of the European Asylum Support Office and provides for the function of the Office in three broad areas as follows:

  • supporting practical cooperation on asylum, including, pooling of information and best practice, country-of-origin information, supporting intra-Community transfers of those accorded international protection, support for training and support for the external dimension of asylum policy.
  • support for Member States under particular pressure in the field of asylum, including, gathering and analysing information and coordination of support action for the Member States subject to particular pressure.  The Regulation also incorporates a regulatory framework for the deployment by the Office of asylum support teams in the territory of a requesting Member State.  These teams would comprise national asylum experts contributed by the Member States to an Asylum Intervention Pool coordinated by the Office.
  • contribution to the implementation of the Common European Asylum System, including, gathering and exchanging information and preparation of reports and other technical documents.

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