Written by Gertrud Malmersjo and Milan Remáč,
This briefing is one in a series of ‘Implementation Appraisals’ on the operation of existing EU legislation in practice. Each such briefing focuses on a specific EU law which is likely to be amended or reviewed, as foreseen in the European Commission’s Annual Work Programme. Implementation Appraisals aim to provide a succinct overview of material publicly available on the implementation, application and effectiveness of an EU law to date – drawing on available input from the EU institutions and external organisations. They are provided to assist parliamentary committees in their consideration of the new proposals, once tabled.
In its May 2015 Communication on the European Agenda on Migration, the European Commission set out its broad framework for a migration policy in four areas to 1) reduce incentives for irregular migration; 2) ensure an efficient border management; 3) strengthen the common asylum policy; and 4) update the policy on legal migration. This briefing will focus on the area of common asylum policy and in particular on the Dublin Regulation which establishes the criteria for determining which Member State is responsible for examining an application for international protection. The war in Syria, along with other conflicts in countries such as Iraq or Afghanistan, has led the EU to face an unprecedented number of people seeking asylum. While numbers started to increase in 2011 after some years of relatively fewer asylum applications, 2015 saw a more drastic increase. While the situation has often been compared to the effects of World War II in terms of the scale of movements, it is important to note that the European Union has faced large-scale migration since then, notably in the 1990s linked to conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.
The situation in 2015 was in many ways different to previous migratory movements. In particular, those now seeking asylum were more diverse, came from further away, used several different routes to access the EU, and their underlying motives for migration varied more. This meant that the make-up of asylum-seekers in terms of country of origin often varied across Member States (MS). Additionally, the economic and demographic situation across the EU also varied more in 2015 than previously. However, as before, mainly a small number of countries in the EU are taking in most of those seeking asylum – Germany, Sweden, France, Belgium, Italy and the UK. Although this time some new countries, notably Hungary, also received a large number of asylum applications.
Read the complete Briefing on ‘Regulation 604/2013 (Dublin Regulation) and asylum procedures in Europe‘ in PDF.