The Dublin reform explained
In 2015 and 2016, some 2.5 million people reached the EU, escaping the sufferings of life in their home countries. A vast majority of them were running away from wars and conflicts, persecution and humanitarian disasters.
Faced with such an unprecedented influx of people, the EU’s asylum system, which was never designed to deal with such mass arrivals, crumbled. It left people stranded, often in very harsh conditions, and countries at the EU’s periphery were overwhelmed by hundreds of refugees arriving each day. In fact, a vast majority of all asylum seekers ended up hosted by only 6 Member States (Germany, Italy, France, Greece, Austria and the UK).
A new system guaranteeing solidarity, humanity and security
The foundations of the European project were shaken. Our solidarity, security and humanitarian nature, on which the EU has built its reputation, were all seriously challenged. A proper response – taking into account the best interests of both EU citizens and the people seeking the refuge – was needed.
With this in mind, a new system was proposed. At its heart is the wellbeing of people escaping the horrors of wars - especially those most vulnerable, solidarity with countries affected by new arrivals and the preservation of security and socio-economic stability in Europe.
Solidarity with Member States in need
Solidarity with Member States in need has been the backbone of the EU since its inception, whether in sharing the burden of joint efforts or their costs. The new system embodies this principle through its fairness mechanism.
The proposed mechanism preserves the Member States’ social fabric by striking a balance between the size of the population and the strength of the economy when establishing how many asylum applicants a country can host, and when deciding where to relocate newly-arrived refugees. In addition, Member States are given the opportunity to make a financial solidarity contribution instead of accepting relocated asylum seekers.
At the same time, the new system prevents mass migrations to Member States offering more enticing financial conditions by tying asylum seekers’ entitlements to the country that granted them asylum. In case of leaving their host Member State, they risk losing their rights to material aid within the EU.
Protection of the most vulnerable asylum seekers
Acknowledging the hardships and often real ordeals of those seeking refuge in Europe, the proposed system envisages much shorter, clearer procedures for asylum applications. It emphasises the protection of the most vulnerable – children travelling alone – by taking their best interests as the primary concern and the guiding principle in deciding upon their applications.
Finally, the new asylum system and other improvements in dealing with migration underpin security in Europe by improving cooperation between Member States, strengthening external borders and enhancing the monitoring of the internal movements of migrants.
In other words, the asylum reform protects those in need, truly espouses the principles of fairness and solidarity, prevents abuses and increases security.