05.12.2016
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Insurmountable borders on the outside, deprivation of rights of protection seekers on the inside: That is what the new European asylum policy looks like. Photo: Reuters/Laszio Balogh.

In the EU Parliament and the Council negotiations about the comprehensive reform of the so-called „Common European Asylum System“ on the basis of proposals from the EU Commission are beginning to take place. PRO ASYL has analyzed Brussels‘ proposals and the findings are devastating: It`s a program geared towards weakening refugees‘ rights in Europe

The overriding aim of the Commission‘s proposals in the »EU asylum package« is to make it harder for protection seekers to arrive in Europe and in the harshest manner to prevent the movement of asylum seekers and refugees within Europe. The EU Commission plans to amend the following legal acts:

Dublin IV Regulation

The Dublin Regulation determines which EU member state is responsible for carrying out the asylum procedure. The provisions within the Dublin Regulation will be significantly tightened. Refugees arriving from a »safe country of origin« or via a »safe third country« will due to the proposed inadmissibility procedures no longer have the possibility to have their asylum case examined.

The humanitarian scope of action for the member states is to be severely restricted as the Commission proposes to eliminate binding deadlines and to undermine the so-called sovereignty clause. It will further be made possible to deny protection seekers the minimum physical subsistence level in order to enforce the compulsory transfer of asylum seekers.

Reception Directive

The Reception Directive regulates the social reception conditions for asylum seekers. It will continue as a directive but will be severely tightened. Freedom of movement of asylum seekers will be prevented by an even more stringent residence obligation within member states. If asylum seekers refuse to adhere to the limitations of their freedom of movement they can be subject to imprisonment.

These regulations which will exclude certain protection seekers completely from being granted any adequate material reception are incommensurable with human dignity.

Qualification Regulation

The Qualification Regulation defines common standards for granting international protection. The directive is to become a regulation. This entails that the member states will be prohibited from applying a more favorable practice for granting international protection than proscribed in the Qualification Regulation. The result is a harmonization based on the lowest common denominator.

Asylum Procedures Regulation

The Asylum Procedures Directive contains general rules regarding asylum procedures. It is also to become a regulation. One central changewith severe consequences for the protection of asylum seekers in Europe includes the soon-to-be common European list of »safe countries of origin«. Furthermore, very short deadlines will be introduced threatening to undermine the legal protection of protection seekers.

Resettlement Regulation

For the very first time on the European level a common binding regulation which determines the reception of refugees from third countries (resettlement) will be adopted.

The problem with this new regulation is that it aims to structurally rule out spontaneous escape. For example those refugees who in the last five years have moved into an EU member state in an irregular fashion are to be excluded from resettlement.

Restrictive approach instead of serious reform

The Commission‘s proposals exemplify precisely the approach of a »Club of the Unwilling« – they suggest far-reaching control of refugee movements to Europe, notwithstanding the global reality and the real humanitarian catastrophe in the immediate neighboring region of the EU.

The miserable political failure of the European Union regarding the reception of refugees should have marked a new beginning for refugee policy in the EU – a serious reform of the unfair and inhuman Dublin system.

Instead, the Commission‘s proposals almost exclusively follow a restrictive approach – it represents the Orbanisation of European asylum policy: Through insurmountable borders on the outside, deprivation of rights of protection seekers on the inside, the right to asylum in Europe is effectively hollowed out.

Disastrous consequences for refugees in Europe

The draft for the new »asylum package«, if agreed upon, would have disastrous consequences for asylum seekers and refugees in Europe. To date it is merely a proposal by the EU Commission, which holds a right of initiative for European legislation. But legal acts are resolved on the European level by the Council and the European Parliament.

Protest is urgently needed!

In this situation protest from civil society against this renewed tightening of the right of asylum is urgently necessary. It is important to make the outcry against Brussels‘ proposals heard.

The template for changes to the Dublin System is being rejected by all relevant human rights organizations in Europe. Now is the time for civil society to clearly communicate this criticism to their parliamentarians in the European Parliament and the German Bundestag!