The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee has today voted on the reforms to the Dublin System, which sets out the criteria for which Member State should examine an asylum claim.
Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur Jean Lambert welcomes the progress:
"The Dublin system has been dysfunctional for years and that failure has come at a terrible human cost. We are pleased that the European Parliament is agreed on scrapping the first country of entry criteria which has seen disproportionate pressure piled on a few Member States. The new relocation measures will help ensure a fairer sharing of responsibility across the EU.
"We need an asylum policy that better reflects the needs of applicants. Family ties, social and cultural connections and language can all have a big impact on people’s ability to integrate into their new community. That’s why we have pushed for greater consideration to be given to the meaningful links that asylum seekers may have to EU Member States and for them to have a voice on where they are to be received.
"The European Parliament has set out much needed reforms. It is now for the Member States to unblock progress at the European Council."
The Dublin Regulation sets the criteria to determine the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application lodged in the EU. Some of the key changes included in the compromise are:
Replacement of the first country of entry criterion with a permanent and automatic mechanism of relocation. This is a major departure from the current Dublin system. This would give priority to relocation for family reunification, minors, applicants with previous residence documents or visas issued by a Member State, educational titles, dependency, sponsorship, discretionary clause, and relocation of applicants who do not fall under any of the previous categories through an automated relocation system. This system would provide the applicant with a choice among the four Member States with the lowest number of asylum applications in relation to a reference key for fair distribution.
Meaningful links. This would introduce the possibility to take into account the meaningful links of the applicant with a Member State (previous residence permits or visas; education). It also includes the possibility for an applicant to present a written request to a Member State, on the basis of extended family, cultural or social ties, language skills or other meaningful links which would facilitate integration, but it would remain a discretionary decision of the Member State.
Strengthened guarantees and safeguards for children, particularly on the provision of information and the swift appointment of a guardian.
Quicker family reunification procedure. As soon as there are indications that an applicant has a family member in a Member State, he or she would be relocated to that Member State. It will be a duty of the receiving Member State to verify the family link and examine the application.
Replacing the sanctions approach with an approach based on incentives/disincentives. The Commission proposed far-reaching sanctions for applicants moving irregularly to Member States other than the Member State responsible, including the withdrawal of reception provisions. The compromises replace them with a different approach based on incentives to comply with the system, and disincentives in order to dissuade "secondary movements".