EU Home Affairs Ministers discuss the recast of the Asylum Procedures Directive

by zoejardiniere

07.12.2012 In a European Council Justice and Home Affairs meeting held in Brussels this week, Member States discussed along with the Commissioner for Justice and Home affairs, Cecilia Malmström, the state of play of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). Commissioner Malmström expressed satisfaction at the progress thus far attained in negotiations, stating that fulfilling the Stockholm Programme’s goal of completing the legislative agreements of the CEAS by the end of 2012 would constitute a historical achievement on the part of the EU and its Member States.

However a number of Member States argued that rather than rushing decisions of a complex nature, it would be more prudent to prioritise the quality of such decisions over the strict adherence to deadlines. Member States outlined areas where negotiations between the EU institutions and Member States remain unresolved, especially as regards the recast of the Asylum Procedures Directive.

Germany, the Netherlands and Austria noted that they were opposed to proposals to protect particularly vulnerable groups of asylum seekers such as unaccompanied children and victims of violence or torture from accelerated asylum procedures. Germany is furthermore opposed to the provision of a guarantee of free legal assistance to asylum seekers.

Spain noted their opposition to guarantee that appeals will have an automatic suspensive effect on deportation, which would ensure that asylum seekers are allowed to remain on the territory while their appeal is examined.

France and Sweden emphasised that after the adoption of the legislation of the CEAS, there would follow the equally important task of ensuring full and correct implementation of the directives. Defining CEAS legislation as a foundation for shared responsibility and solidarity between Member States, Sweden pointed out that in the past year, nine out of the 27 EU Member States received 90% of all asylum applications lodged within the Union, and that a long way was still left to go before the EU could claim to offer a common standard of protection across its territory.

Slovenia and Spain also noted that the adoption of the CEAS ought not to imply an extra financial burden on Member States, already struggling in the current financial crisis.

Negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament on the Dublin regulation have been finalized and the Council adopted without discussion this political agreement.

For further information:

–         Justice and Home Affairs Council Press Release, 6 and 7 December 2012

–         ECRE Comments on the amended proposal to recast the Asylum Procedures Directive, 1 September 2011

–         Justice and Home Affairs Council Background Briefing on the meeting, 3 December 2012

–         Justice and Home Affairs Council Agenda, 6-7 December 2012

–         ECRE Weekly Bulletin, European Parliament’s Rapporteur on the Asylum Procedures Directive outlines key areas of discord in recast negotiations, 30 November 2012