Refugees in Hungary are being treated inhumanely. Should the planned Dublin-IV regulations be implemented, protection seekers could be deported to Hungary at any time. Photo: © UNHCR/Åke Ericson

The reform of the Dublin system will be debated in the upcoming months. The EU Commission plans a massive tightening of the current Dublin system. It wants to remove the provisions which at the moment allow for a humanitarian correction of the Dublin system.

To this end, the EU Com­mis­si­on has devi­sed a pro­po­sal for new Dub­lin-IV regu­la­ti­ons on May 4th 2016. Depor­ta­ti­on to other EU mem­ber sta­tes – in which refu­gees are being trea­ted inhu­ma­nely – could be stop­ped up to now, for instance by enfor­cing the sov­er­eig­n­ty clau­se. This is no lon­ger to be pos­si­ble. PRO ASYL warns against imple­men­ting the pro­po­sals of the EU Commission.

Deadlines are to be abolished, deportations still possible even after several years

What to date has been the last resort to stop depor­ta­ti­ons accord­ing to the Dub­lin regu­la­ti­on is sup­po­sed to beco­me impos­si­ble: In the future no chan­ge of respon­si­bi­li­ty is to take place after the dead­lines in the cour­se of a Dub­lin pro­ce­du­re have elap­sed (p. 58 and 63 of the draft). To date, a mem­ber sta­te that wan­ted to enfor­ce a depor­ta­ti­on accord­ing to the Dub­lin regu­la­ti­ons had to obser­ve cer­tain dead­lines. For instance if the time limit for trans­fers of six mon­ths was­n’t being adhe­red to, respon­si­bi­li­ty moves to the mem­ber sta­te in which the refu­gee resides.

If the­se regu­la­ti­ons are to be abolis­hed, refu­gees could be depor­ted even after several years – huma­ni­ta­ri­an con­si­de­ra­ti­ons no lon­ger pos­si­ble. The affec­ted per­sons would merely be tole­ra­ted and would have to live in per­ma­nent fear of yet being depor­ted back to Bul­ga­ria, Hun­ga­ry or Ita­ly. In the end they would be so-cal­led „refu­gees in orbit“ – refu­gees in need of pro­tec­tion without any actu­al access to refu­gee pro­tec­tion: the sta­te they are in denies their right of asyl­um. The sta­te which accord­ing to Dub­lin regu­la­ti­ons is respon­si­ble for them offers no huma­ne chan­ce of survival.

Sovereignty clause is to be limited: now only applicable in circumstances involving family ties

In addi­ti­on, the sov­er­eig­n­ty clau­se is to be limi­ted to app­li­ca­ti­on only if fami­ly ties exist (p. 49 of the draft). So far the imple­men­ta­ti­on of the sov­er­eig­n­ty clau­se was up to the dis­cre­ti­on of the respec­ti­ve sta­te. In Ger­ma­ny it was app­lied in par­ti­cu­lar to groups of espe­cial­ly vul­nerable peop­le. This is to no lon­ger be possible.

Third-country regulations to cancel out right to family reunification

It is also plan­ned to imple­ment admis­si­bi­li­ty pro­ce­du­res befo­re every exami­na­ti­on of respon­si­bi­li­ty, in which it is to be deter­mi­ned if a pro­tec­tion see­ker can’t be depor­ted to a „safe third coun­try“ or „first coun­try of asyl­um“ (p. 39 and fol­lowing of the draft). The right of fami­ly reuni­fi­ca­ti­on, as one examp­le, is to be can­ce­led out by this third-coun­try regu­la­ti­on. Asyl­um see­kers that arri­ve in Greece are no lon­ger to be allo­wed to tra­vel to their relatives.