Project Description

Credit: Gustave Deghilage | Flickr

Credit: Gustave Deghilage | Flickr

After five years of negotiations, the European Parliament will be voting on the final adoption of the ‘asylum package’. Without any doubt, this is another milestone in the process of harmonisation in the field of asylum; a process that started in Tampere in 1999 where EU leaders committed to establishing a Common European Asylum System (CEAS), based on the full and inclusive application of the Geneva Convention. A commitment that was reaffirmed in the 2009 Stockholm Programme calling for a CEAS that is based on high standards of protection and where similar asylum applications are treated alike and result in the same outcome regardless of the Member State in which they are lodged. Today, this is far from being accomplished for asylum seekers arriving in the EU who may still be confronted with obstacles in accessing asylum procedures, inadequate reception conditions, difficulties in receiving quality legal assistance and gender-sensitive treatment, and diverging recognition rates depending on the EU Member State responsible for examining their asylum application. The vote in the European Parliament heralds the next operational phase of the CEAS rather than the completion of it.

We acknowledge that the recast asylum legislation includes certain significant improvements such as the strengthening of the right to a personal interview, including in Dublin procedures, the right to an effective remedy, better representation for unaccompanied children and the further approximation of protection statuses under EU law. Nevertheless, the legislation provides a still imperfect legal framework for a CEAS that today only exists on paper. Although serious efforts have been made to ensure the alignment of the EU legislation with human rights law, concerns remain. Some legislative provisions lack legal clarity and are ambiguous, whilst others give too much discretion to Member States, which may have the further effect of undermining the overall aim of achieving harmonized and high standards of protection across Europe.

This Statement is endorsed by the following organisations: