Democracy & Justice

There's Fresh Hope for a Fairer Asylum System in Europe

A European Parliament committee has approved a new version of the Dublin Regulation, bringing new hope that a new and improved EU asylum system is on the way.

by Federica Brioschi

This reform could be a historical change in the way the European Union deals with asylum procedures. In the elaboration of this revised version of the Dublin Regulation, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament took in consideration many of the issues of the current Dublin Regulation (Dublin III) and positively intervened in order to solve many problems encountered during these years of heavy influx of refugees.

What will change

This Regulation improves Dublin III with regard to many aspects. First of all, it won’t be the country of entry in the EU that will have to process the asylum applications; instead, there are several criteria that define which country will have the duty to do so. First and foremost, for the first time family ties will be taken into consideration, along with a broader concept of family that will include family members other than the nuclear family.

Another important change is the introduction of the consideration of other meaningful links between the asylum seeker and a particular European country, such as previous stays or school attendance; those who have such links can ask to be moved to that particular country. When it won’t be possible to apply any of these criteria, asylum seekers will be able to choose among four countries to which he or she will be assigned through a system (so-called quota system) that will allow a more equal allocation of asylum seekers among EU countries. Furthermore, there is also the introduction of the system of sponsorship.

Next steps

Following the vote of the Committee (43 in favour and 16 against), the European Council will also have to approve the new regulation. Its passage here is critical. In fact, the members of the European Council are the heads of state or government of all 28 EU member States and their positions on this matter are very divided. The hope is that they will not completely delete the efforts of the Committee and will keep the many improvements of the proposed new Dublin Regulation.

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