European Parliament’s Rapporteur on the Asylum Procedures Directive outlines key areas of discord in recast negotiations

by zoejardiniere

30.11.2012 The EU Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs heard on Monday a state-of-play summary of negotiations on the amended proposal to recast the Asylum Procedures directive. The Parliament’s Rapporteur on the directive, Sylvie Guillaume, summarised the progress and principle stumbling blocks that the discussion has encountered thus far.

Four trialogues, meetings for discussion between the European Parliament, Commission, and Council, have thus far taken place on the subject, and another two are planned. MEP Guillaume expressed hope that the sixth discussion would lead to a conclusion.

Several key areas were highlighted as still being points of discord between the EU institutions.

Firstly, some contention remains over whether states should be allowed to delay decisions in a range of situations based on the assessment that the situation in the country of origin is uncertain and expected to be temporary. Including this option in the recast Asylum Procedures Directive would in ECRE’s view equate promoting bad practice and would undermine the main purpose of any asylum system which is to provide protection to those who need it when it is needed. Theoretically every situation in a given country of origin is to an extent uncertain and by definition temporary and Member States have tools under international refugee law at their disposal to end protection when the reasons why protection was granted have ceased to exist, including when the situation in the country or origin has changed and protection can again be obtained from the authorities in the country of origin

Disagreement also still remains over provisions for applicants in need of special procedural guarantees, such as unaccompanied children and other particularly vulnerable groups. In ECRE’s view, unaccompanied children and other vulnerable groups such as torture survivors should be exempted from procedural tools that are not adapted to their particular vulnerability such as border procedures and accelerated procedures and should always have access to an effective remedy with automatic suspensive effect.

Furthermore, the Parliament’s position is that it should be compulsory to make audio recordings of asylum interviews under all circumstances in order to allow the authorities to make a decision based on a correct and full understanding of the asylum seeker’s statement.

Finally, the Parliament insists that suitable training must be provided, not only for personnel of the authorities determining asylum cases, but also for the personnel of other competent authorities concerned.

For further information:

–         ECRE Comments and Recommendations on the Amended Commission Proposal to Recast the Asylum Procedures Directive September 2011