The Commission is commit to establish the Common European Asylum System by 2012

According to the Commission, the 'asylum legislative package', i.e. the modified proposals on the Reception Conditions and the Asylum Procedures Directives will ensure faster, fairer and more efficient rules to the benefit of Member States and people seeking international protection. Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs stated on this issue that is why EU must respect its commitment to establish a Common European Asylum System by 2012.

The Commission first made proposals to amend the Reception Conditions Directive in December 2008 and the Asylum Procedures in October 2009. The package presented now takes into account the progress made during the negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council, as well as during consultations with other actors (such as UNHCR and NGOs).

Changes made to the proposal on the Asylum Procedures Directive aim to simplify and clarify rules in order to: 

  • make implementation easier for Member States, in particular when dealing with a large number of simultaneous asylum claims.
  • provide that Member States may accelerate procedures and examine at the border claims that are clearly unconvincing or made by applicants who pose a danger to national security or public order.
  • increase the quality of decision-making at first instance, through more practical measures to help an applicant understand the procedure, or by providing appropriate training to the personnel examining and making decisions on applications.
  • guarantee access to protection. Clarifications concern the initial steps to be taken in the asylum procedure by border guards, police officers and other authorities who first come into contact with persons seeking protection.
  • clarify the rules regarding the possibility for asylum seekers to reapply if his/her circumstances have changed, and to prevent potential abuse of the system.
  • enhance coherence with other instruments of the EU asylum acquis, such as the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). A more concrete role for the EASO is foreseen in the provisions on training and access to the asylum procedure. 

Modifications to the proposal on the Reception Conditions Directive provide more clarity and flexibility, in order to:

  • make implementation easier for Member States. More latitude in the implementation of measures will help to reduce financial costs and administrative burdens.
  • ensure clear rules which strictly delimit the possibility to detain asylum seekers. The revised proposal maintains high standards of treatment in relation to detention; restrictions on the right to free movement should only be applied under clear, common and exhaustive grounds and only when necessary and proportionate.
  • ensure dignified standards of living, through national measures for the identification of the special needs of vulnerable persons, such as minors and victims of torture
  • facilitate access to employment for asylum seekers while allowing flexibility to Member States during the period when applications are being examined at first instance, or if they are faced with large numbers of simultaneous asylum requests.

The two proposals will now be presented at the 9th of June Justice and Home Affairs Council. In order to become law they will need the support of the European Parliament and of a qualified majority of Member States.