RefugeeResearchInstitute EU Refugee and Asylum Policy Proposal RRI Michael Apicelli, Leticia Cano, Paola Castellani, Jessica Hartman, Tanya Raymond
Current Policy Situation • Significant differences in refugee and asylum policy between EU member states • Differing interpretations of the definition of refugee status • Asymmetrical “burden sharing” among member states • Current bureaucratic process is uneven, extended, unfair and inefficient • Varying standards of rights and benefits for refugees and asylum seekers
Policy Objectives • To establish greater unity in the area of freedom, justice and security among EU member states • To create a common policy on asylum that the EU can implement • To guarantee expedient, fair, and humane protection to refugees and asylum seekers with an assurance of rights and benefits • An accelerated process of determining refugee status
Considered existing policy of member states Example member states chosen to represent diversity of the EU Size, economy, geography, history, and duration in the EU taken into consideration Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, Greece, and Latvia cases Creating a Common Policy
Definitions • A refugee is a person who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country...” • Convention Refugee status: a status that is granted to refugees within countries who abide by the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees, which prescribes certain minimum standards.
Centralized Policy • Asylum seeker may apply at any member state’s police station, border crossing, or consulate • Timeframe—must apply within 72 hours of arrival • Convention Refugee applications shall be submitted to the EU Committee for Refugee and Asylum • EU decision to grant refugee status based on 1951 Convention guidelines
Decision Process • EU Committee for Refugee and Asylum will consist of a panel of judges and immigration officials • Committee members are appointed to represent all member states • Quotas will be set for each country by the Committee
Country Placement • When refugee applies for asylum, refugee is granted a choice for country placement • Choice 1: refugee allows the EU to place her in “the best suited place”—timeframe = 3 months • Choice 2: refugee lists top three country choices—timeframe = 4-7 months • Placement is based on country quotas to ensure equal responsibility between EU member states
Asylum seeker submits application EU determines if applicant can have Convention Status Status Granted Status not granted EU Council on Immigration & Naturalization EU Refugee Council Council Determines Placement Applicant Choice 1 Applicant Choice 2 Applicant Choice 3 Yes No Council Determines Placement Yes No Yes No
Appeals • Any host state or asylum applicant in disagreement with the EU decision may appeal to the EU Court of Justice • Determination of appeals are to be decided within 1 month
EU Refugee Applicant Fund • Financial assistance provided to member states to support asylum seekers • Funding is pooled from member states according to relative economic strength • Funding will be distributed to states according to volume of refugee applicants received each year
Figure A. represents the proportion of funds paid for by the State to the EU Refugee fund, which pays for refugee benefits while the application is being processed. This proportion is based upon: total GDP, population size, and annual GDP growth. Figure B. represents the proportion of funds from the EU Refugee fund that are re-distributed to the States based on the total number of asylum seekers residing at in-country refugee centers, as the EU covers the cost of Convention Status refugees while their application is processed.
Guaranteed Rights and Benefits • Asylum seekers accorded refugee status will be guaranteed minimal standards of reception encompassing housing, employment, education, health care, and legal council • Minimal standards apply in all member states
Challenges • EU enlargement • Security—border control, terrorism, and human trafficking • EU member states’ opposition to loss of absolute sovereignty
Further Recommendations • Define criteria for “safe countries” • Integration of Migration and Refugee Policies