Title The Way Forward: Europe's Role in the Global Refugee Protection System. Towards Fair and Efficient Asylum Systems in Europe
Publisher European Council on Refugees and Exiles
Publication Date 1 September 2005
Topics Access to procedures | International protection
Cite as European Council on Refugees and Exiles, The Way Forward: Europe's Role in the Global Refugee Protection System. Towards Fair and Efficient Asylum Systems in Europe, 1 September 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4356034c4.html [accessed 16 September 2014]
Comments This new paper builds on previous ECRE papers including its 1999 Guidelines on Fair and Efficient Procedures for Determining Refugee Status. It addresses the current problems facing asylum seekers arriving in Europe such as varying protection standards, denial of access to a fair procedure, backlogs and deterrence, and the absence of critical procedural safeguards. At the same time the paper seeks to provide solutions to many of the problems associated with asylum such as illegal transit/residence, onward movements, delay and associated lack of public confidence. It proposes practical cooperation and responsibility sharing measures to help reduce current disparities between European asylum systems and pave the way for a Common European Asylum System. The paper proposes a model asylum procedure that is efficient and workable, but also fair and upholds essential safeguards and fundamental principles of international refugee and human rights law. The paper contains the following key recommendations: * EU Member States must cooperate more extensively in order to increase capacity and better harmonise their asylum systems. * Common EU guidelines should be developed on staff and training issues. * Common EU guidelines should be developed on the researching, collection and application of country of origin information and should lead to the development of an EU Documentation Centre. * Quality assessment mechanisms should be set up including expert monitoring teams to audit the quality of national asylum procedures. * Expert support teams should be established to help meet any capacity shortfall in a state experiencing backlogs or unexpected increases in asylum numbers. * An EU support office should be established to oversee these initiatives and to facilitate a truly common and unified EU approach. * The Dublin II Regulation should be replaced with ECRE's alternative system for determining the state responsible for processing a claim. * ECRE's proposed alternative system for determining state responsibility should be supported by a range of burden sharing measures and EC legislation granting freedom of movement within the EU to all beneficiaries of international protection. * States should adopt a policy of the frontloading of their asylum systems to improve the quality of first instance decisionmaking and thus avoid unnecessary appeals. * Asylum procedures should not include any acceleration mechanisms during the first instance stage of decisionmaking. * ECRE proposes a single sevenstep model asylum procedure which is the same for all asylum applicants and provides a fair and efficient alternative to the myriad and varied asylum procedures currently existing in Europe. ECRE's policy on fair and efficient asylum systems in Europe is part of the organisation's development of a series of proposals entitled "The Way Forward Europe's Role in the Global Refugee Protection System", designed to provide constructive recommendations on a number of topical refugee policy issues, contribute to and positively influence the European debate. Other proposals address the issues of developing European resettlement activities, making refugee protection effective in regions of origin, improving solutions for refugees through integration and the return of asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected. This body of work will be the central priority for ECRE's advocacy over the next few years, linking in to many of the themes in the EU's Hague Programme of action for the next five years, including progress towards a Common European Asylum System. In particular, it will inform ECRE's advocacy towards the Commission's imminent Communication on reinforced practical cooperation.
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