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ECRE Policy Note: Making the CEAS Work, Starting Today

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ECRE’s identification of key implementation gaps and recommendations for EU measures to make the common European asylum system function effectively


The stalemate in the negotiations on the reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) over the past three years has demonstrated the inability of European Union (EU) Member States to find common ground on asylum policies. The persistent blockage in the Dublin IV and Asylum Procedures Regulation proposals in particular is caused by a proliferation of competing Member State interests with more divisions than in previous negotiations.
Against that backdrop, withdrawal of the proposals is an increasingly likely move from the new European Commission.

ECRE maintains that the 2016 proposals tabled by the Commission constituted a worrying lowering of protection standards and were based on a flawed vision of outsourcing responsibility for refugees to regions outside Europe.
ECRE therefore supports withdrawal of most of the proposals. The focus needs to be compliance not reform, with two exceptions: First, while Dublin IV should be withdrawn, ultimately legislative reform of the Dublin system is needed. Second, a new legal base for EASO and its transformation into the EU Asylum Agency (EUAA) remains necessary.

Real reform of Dublin is needed for the EU to break away from the intrinsically unfair, unworkable, and expensive mechanism for allocating responsibility among Member States. In the short to medium term, however, the CEAS will continue to operate under the existing legislative framework, including the Dublin III Regulation (604/2013). The law in force should be read and implemented in compliance with refugee and human rights law in order for EU countries to develop functioning asylum systems and to avoid the risk of a perpetual state of political crisis on refugee protection. The Commission holds the institutional power and responsibility to support for promotion of compliance. In this Policy Note, ECRE suggestions the actions need to refocus resources and attention on compliance, rather than unnecessary reform.