(M)integration: Investition in die Zukunft

MIL OSI – Source: Koerber Stiftung – Press Release/Statement

Headline: (M)integration: Investition in die Zukunft

Meldung vom Mittwoch, 13. Juli 2016

Die Initiative NAT möchte mit dem jetzt gestarteten Projekt (M)integration gezielt neue Fachkräfte für die MINT-Branche gewinnen und so dem jüngst von der Handelskammer Hamburg ermittelten Bedarf von 17.000 zusätzlichen MINT-Fachkräften entgegenwirken. »Wir möchten jungen Flüchtlingen zeigen, was sie mit den MINT-Fächern beruflich anfangen können und sie in Kontakt mit möglichen Arbeitgebern bringen,« erklärt die Geschäftsführerin der Initiative NAT, Sabine Fernau, das Vorhaben. Hamburger Unternehmen wie zum Beispiel Hydro Aluminium, Lufthansa Technik und Hamburg Port Authority beteiligen sich an dem Projekt und möchten technisch-affine Jugendliche zwischen 15 und 19 Jahren frühzeitig für Ihr Unternehmen interessieren. Das Angebot beinhaltet Betriebsführungen und Praktika im MINT Bereich.
weitere Informationen

Christine Buchholz: Ein Weißbuch für Aufrüstung und Krieg

MIL OSI – Source: Die Linke – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Christine Buchholz: Ein Weißbuch für Aufrüstung und Krieg

„Die Bundesregierung propagiert im Weißbuch die militärische Beteiligung an anlassbezogenen ‚Ad-hoc-Kooperationen‘. Sie beansprucht, ‚die globale Ordnung aktiv mitzugestalten‘. Das ist Großmachtdenken und lässt das Schlimmste für die Zukunft befürchten. Die Bundesregierung drängelt sich weiter nach vorn, um innerhalb der Nato oder auch in ‚Koalitionen der Willigen‘ militärische Führung zu übernehmen. Zu diesem Zweck soll die Bundeswehr hemmungslos aufgerüstet werden. DIE LINKE lehnt die dafür im Weißbuch geforderte drastische und dauerhafte Erhöhung des Verteidigungshaushaltes ab.
Im Weißbuch wird behauptet, äußere und innere Sicherheit seien ‚nicht mehr trennscharf voneinander abzugrenzen‘. Das ist Unsinn. Offenbar geht es der federführenden Ministerin für Verteidigung darum, den politisch noch nicht durchsetzbaren Einsatz der Bundeswehr im Innern weiterhin mit Argumenten vorzubereiten. Sie erklärt im Weißbuch das Internet zu einem globalen Operationsraum und kündigt dafür den Aufbau ‚defensiver und offensiver Hochwertfähigkeiten‘ an. Von der Leyen macht damit nichts anderes, als was sie der russischen Regierung vorwirft: Sie verwischt die Grenzen zwischen Militärischem und Zivilem, um die Bundeswehr zu hybrider Kriegsführung zu befähigen.“

Public consultation: dietary reference values for potassium

MIL OSI – Source: European Union – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Public consultation: dietary reference values for potassium

EFSA has launched a public consultation on its draft scientific opinion on dietary reference values for potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral in the human diet which plays an important role in many physiological functions. The document proposes dietary reference values for adults, children and infants, pregnant and lactating women. EFSA invites interested parties to submit written comments by 24 August 2016.

Relocation and Resettlement: Positive trend continues, but more efforts needed

MIL OSI – Source: European Union – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Relocation and Resettlement: Positive trend continues, but more efforts needed

Today, the Commission adopted its latest progress report on the EU’s emergency relocation and resettlement schemes, assessing actions taken over the past month. The positive trend observed in the last report has continued with Member States stepping up their efforts on both relocation and resettlement. Relocation has continued at the increased rate reached in the previous month with an additional 776 persons relocated since 14 June. The total number of relocations from Greece and Italy now stands at 3,056. Further important achievements have also been made as regards resettlement, with 8,268 people resettled so far of the agreed 22,504 under the July 2015 scheme and a total of 802 Syrian refugees resettled from Turkey under the EU-Turkey Statement. As arrivals in Greece remain low due to the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement and with seasonal arrivals having started in Italy, the Commission now calls on Member States to continue and strengthen their efforts, building on the encouraging results of the last months, as reiterated by the European Council on 28 June.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “I welcome the increased efforts made by Member States over the past months on relocation and resettlement. This is a true expression of European solidarity in action, which comes in addition to the enormous efforts made by Member States to receive and host over 1,2 million asylum seekers in 2015 alone. With tens of thousands of refugees in Greece waiting to be relocated and arrivals remaining at a high level in Italy, this positive trend now needs to be continued and strengthened. The Commission will continue to support Member States by all available means to further accelerate the implementation of the relocation and resettlement schemes. TheEU Resettlement Framework that we are proposing today aims at strengthening our capacity to resettle people in need of international protection by offering a common European approach with a uniform procedure for resettlement across the EU.”
Relocation
During the reporting period from 14 June to 11 July, the number of relocations increased with an additional 776 persons being relocated, maintaining the increased rate seen in the previous reporting period. This brings the total number of persons relocated to 3,056 (2,213 from Greece and 843 from Italy), with Croatia having participated in the scheme for the first time. Although this constitutes positive progress and shows that Member States are stepping up their efforts, it still falls far short of the Commission’s proposed target of relocating 6,000 people per month. Member States are not yet meeting the commitments they made under the Council Decisions on relocation.
The pace of relocation transfers from Greece increased during the reporting period, notably due to an increased engagement from several Member States and the heightened capacity of the Greek asylum service to process relocation requests. However, relocation from Italy decreased and remained at a particularly low level compared to the continuously high number of potential applicants for relocation arriving in Italy.
The Commission calls on Member States to increase their efforts, in particular with regards to unaccompanied minors, and to fully comply with their commitments and obligations under the Council Decisions on relocation. It is crucial that all Member States relocate actively and on a regular basis from both Italy and Greece.
Resettlement
Based on the information received from the participating States, 8,268 persons had been resettled by 11 July 2016 under the resettlement scheme of 20 July 2015, mainly from Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. They have been received by 20 resettling States (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom).
The number of resettlements from Turkey under the EU-Turkey Statement continued to increase during the reporting period (14 June to 11 July) as Member States assessed the candidates referred to them by Turkey, via the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Since 4 April 2016, a total of 802 Syrians have been resettled from Turkey to the EU, including 291 since the last report, and the number of Member States actively participating in the scheme has also increased. Since the last progress report, in addition to Finland, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Luxembourg and Portugal, resettlements have now also taken place to Latvia and Spain.
The permanent EU Resettlement Framework proposed today will establish a common set of standard procedures for the selection of resettlement candidates and a common protection status for persons resettled to the EU to streamline and better focus European resettlement efforts in the future.
Background
The temporary emergency relocation scheme was established in two Council Decisions in September 2015, in which Member States committed to relocate 160,000 people from Italy and Greece (and if relevant from other Member States) by September 2017.
On 8 June 2015, the Commission adopted a proposal on a European Resettlement Scheme, which was followed by an agreement among the Member States on 20 July 2015 to resettle 22,504 persons in clear need of international protection, in line with the figures put forward by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Following the EU Leaders’ Summit with Turkey on 29 November 2015, the EU-Turkey Action Plan was adopted. The voluntary admission scheme proposed by the Commission on 15 December 2015 is a key element of the Plan, aimed at supporting Turkey in managing refugees and offering a safe and legal channel for persons in need of protection.
The European Council on 7 March 2016 called for an acceleration of the implementation of relocation, in order to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Greece. On 28 June 2016, the European Councilreiterated its call for further action to accelerate the implementation of the relocation and resettlement schemes in light of the urgent need to provide support to Greece and Italy. Today’s report responds to the Council’s Conclusions, and to the Commission’s commitment under the “Back to Schengen” Roadmap.
The EU Turkey Statement of 18 March 2016 provides that for every Syrian being returned from Turkey from the Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled from Turkey to the EU. This principle applies as of 4 April 2016. Priority is given to migrants who have not previously entered or tried to enter the EU irregularly.
Following the EU-Turkey Statement, the Commission adopted a proposal on 21 March to make 54,000 places not yet allocated out of the of the 160,000 places foreseen for relocations available for the purpose of resettling Syrians from Turkey to the EU.
The Commission adopted on 16 March 2016 the First Report on Relocation and Resettlement. The Second , Third Report, and Fourth Report were adopted respectively on 12 April, 18 May, and 15 June 2016.
For More Information
Communication from the Commission: Fifth Report on Relocation and Resettlement
Annex: Relocations from Greece by 11 July
Annex: Relocations from Italy by 11 July
Annex: Resettlement State of Play as of 11 July
FACTSHEET: Relocation and Resettlement
FACTSHEET: Managing the refugee crisis: EU financial support to Greece
The European Agenda on Migration
Council Decision on the relocation of 40,000 people from Italy and Greece
Council Decision on the relocation of 120,000 people from Italy and Greece
Council Conclusions on Resettlement of 20,000 persons in need of international protection
Press release: A Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme with Turkey for refugees from Syria
Commission Recommendation for a Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme for Refugees from Syria staying in Turkey
EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March 2016
Power Point – State of play: Management of the Migration Crisis in Greece since October 2015/ Implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement since 20 March 2016
Proposal for a Council Decision amending Council Decision (EU) 2015/1601 of 22 September 2015 establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece

Enhancing legal channels: Commission proposes to create common EU Resettlement Framework

MIL OSI – Source: European Union – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Enhancing legal channels: Commission proposes to create common EU Resettlement Framework

The European Commission is proposing today an EU Resettlement Framework to establish a common European policy on resettlement to ensure orderly and safe pathways to Europe for persons in need of international protection. The proposal is part of the Commission’s reform of the Common European Asylum System and the long-term policy on better migration management set out by the European Agenda on Migration. It will also contribute to the implementation of the new results-oriented Partnership Framework for cooperation with key third countries of origin and transit presented by the Commission on 7 June.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “We need to move up a gear in our common efforts to provide international protection, and that includes resettling refugees in Europe in a safe and orderly way. Ad-hoc schemes have delivered some results so far, but the new procedures put on the table today mean that we will work with national governments at an early stage to increase and pool efforts and make this work better. The Member States will decide how many people need to be resettled each year, and they will have the financial support of the EU budget to turn their decisions into action. This is an effective way for the EU to live up to its collective responsibility to show solidarity with non-EU countries and help them cope with large numbers of people fleeing war and persecution.”
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said: “Today’s proposal is a major step in our efforts to offer legal avenues to allow persons in need to enter the EU safely and receive protection. It is an integral part of the larger objective of ensuring that protection is offered to those who need it, reducing the incentives for irregular migration and protecting migrants from exploitation by smuggling networks and dangerous journeys to reach Europe. By establishing a permanent framework with harmonised practices we can ensure faster procedures, allowing us to gradually scale up our joint resettlement commitments. This is the EU opening a genuine legal window in our efforts to close the irregular backdoor.”
Today’s proposal will provide for a permanent framework with a unified procedure for resettlement across the EU. While the Member States will remain the ones deciding on how many people will be resettled each year, collectively the EU will achieve a greater impact by coordinating national efforts and acting as a whole. The future resettlement framework will be implemented through the annual EU resettlement plans, adopted by the Council and operationalised by targeted EU resettlement schemes adopted by the Commission. The annual EU resettlement plans will set the broad geographical priorities from where the resettlement will take place, the maximum total number of persons to be resettled in the following year based on the participation and contributions made by the Member States and Associated Schengen countries in the specific annual resettlement plan.
The EU Resettlement Framework sets out the criteria which should be taken into account when determining the regions or third countries from which resettlement will take place, such as the number of persons in need of international protection in third countries, the overall relations between the EU and third countries and their effective cooperation in the area of asylum and migration, including developing their asylum system and cooperation on irregular migration, readmission and return.
The new EU Resettlement Framework will establish a common set of standard procedures for the selection and treatment of resettlement candidates. It also specifies the common eligibility criteria for resettlement to the EU under the targeted EU resettlement schemes, sets out common grounds for the exclusion of candidates and the type of resettlement procedure (ordinary procedure or expedited procedure) which could be used.
To support Member States’ resettlement efforts under the targeted EU schemes, the Commission will provide €10,000 from the EU budget for each person resettled. The funds will be allocated from the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). Resettlements outside of the Union resettlement framework will not be supported financially by the Union’s budget.
The UK and Ireland may take part in the implementation of the Regulation if they choose to do so, in accordance with the relevant Protocols attached to the Treaties. Denmark is not taking part in the adoption of this Regulation and is not bound by it or subject to its application.
Background
On 13 May 2015, the European Commission proposed a far-reaching strategy through the European Agenda on Migration, laying the foundation for the Commission’s continuous work to address both the immediate and the long-term challenges of managing migration flows effectively and comprehensively and setting out the need for a common approach to granting protection to displaced persons in need of protection through resettlement.
On 8 June 2015 the European Commission issued a Recommendation on a European Resettlement Scheme, which was followed by the Conclusions of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council of 20 July 2015 to resettle, through multilateral and national schemes, 22,504 persons in clear need of international protection.
On 15 December 2015 the Commission issued a Recommendation for a Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme with Turkey. According to the EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March 2016, a Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme will be activated once irregular crossings between Turkey and the EU end, or at least have been substantially and sustainably reduced.
On 6 April 2016, the European Commission published a Communication which launched the process for a reform of the Common European Asylum System and the establishment of a structured resettlement system framing the Union’s policy on resettlement and providing a common approach to safe and legal arrival in the Union for persons in need of international protection.
Following that Communication, the Commission presented a first package of reforms on 4 May 2016. The package included proposals for establishing a sustainable and fair Dublin system, reinforcing the Eurodac system and establishing a genuine European Agency for Asylum.
The Commission regularly reports on the progress made as regards resettlement. A First Report on Relocation and Resettlement was adopted on 16 March. The Second, Third, and Fourth Report were adopted respectively on 12 April, 18 May, and 15 June. The Fifth Report on Relocation and Resettlement has been adopted today.
For more information
Frequently asked questions: Establishing an EU Resettlement Framework:
Regulation establishing a Union Resettlement Framework and amending Regulation (EU) No 516/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council
Press release: Completing the reform of the Common European Asylum System: Towards an efficient, fair and humane asylum policy
Frequently asked questions: Reforming the Common European Asylum System
FACTSHEET – Asylum procedures: reforming the Common European Asylum System
FACTHSEET – Qualification: Reforming the Common European Asylum System
FACTSHEET – Reception Conditions: reforming the Common European Asylum System
FACTSHEET – The Common European Asylum System
Press release: Relocation and Resettlement: Positive trend continues, but more efforts needed
Press release: Commission announces New Migration Partnership Framework: reinforced cooperation with third countries to better manage migration
Press release: Towards a sustainable and fair Common European Asylum System
Press release:Commission presents options for reforming the Common European Asylum System and developing safe and legal pathways to Europe
Council Conclusions on Resettlement of 20,000 persons in need of international protection
Press release: A Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme with Turkey for refugees from Syria
Commission Recommendation for a Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme for Refugees from Syria staying in Turkey
EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March 2016
Power Point – State of play: Management of the Migration Crisis in Greece since October 2015/ Implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement since 20 March 2016
Proposal for a Council Decision amending Council Decision (EU) 2015/1601 of 22 September 2015 establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece

Completing the reform of the Common European Asylum System: towards an efficient, fair and humane asylum policy

MIL OSI – Source: European Union – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Completing the reform of the Common European Asylum System: towards an efficient, fair and humane asylum policy

The European Commission is today presenting proposals to complete the reform of the Common European Asylum System in order to move towards a fully efficient, fair and humane asylum policy – one which can function effectively both in times of normal and in times of high migratory pressure. To this end, and learning from experience, a more efficient and coherent asylum system requires a common and harmonised set of rules at EU level. The Commission is therefore proposing the creation of a common procedure for international protection, uniform standards for protection and rights granted to beneficiaries of international protection and the further harmonisation of reception conditions in the EU. Overall, these proposals will simplify and shorten the asylum procedure and the decision-making, discourage secondary movements of asylum seekers and increase integration prospects of those that are entitled to international protection.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said:”The EU needs an asylum system which is both effective and protective, based on common rules, solidarity and a fair sharing of responsibilities. The proposed reforms will make sure that persons in genuine need of international protection get it quickly, but also that those who do not have the right to receive protection in the EU can be returned swiftly. With today’s proposals, all the elements for the reform of the Common European Asylum Policy are on the table of the European Parliament and the Council.”
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “What we propose today is the closing piece of a comprehensive reform of the EU’s common asylum system. The changes will create a genuine common asylum procedure and guarantee that asylum seekers are treated in an equal and appropriate manner, regardless of the Member State in which they make their application. At the same time, we set clear obligations and duties for asylum seekers to prevent secondary movements and abuse of the procedures. Our objective is to have a common system which is quick, efficient and based on harmonised rules and mutual trust between Member States.”
The legislative proposals presented today follow the first set of proposals adopted by the Commission on 4 May to reform the Common European Asylum System as outlined in the European Agenda on Migration and the Commission’s Communication of 6 April. They are aimed at building a solid, coherent and integrated European asylum system based on common, harmonised rules, which are fully in line with the international protection standards under the Geneva Convention and fundamental rights instruments.
A fair and efficient common EU procedure
The Commission is proposing to replace the Asylum Procedures Directive with a Regulation establishing a fully harmonised common EU procedure for international protection to reduce differences in recognition rates from one Member State to the next, discourage secondary movements and ensure common effective procedural guarantees for asylum seekers. The proposal will:

Simplify, clarify and shorten asylum procedures: The overall procedure is shortened and streamlined, with decisions normally to be taken within six months or less. Shorter time-limits (between one and two months) are introduced in particular in cases where applications are inadmissible or manifestly unfounded, or in cases where the accelerated procedure applies. Time limits are also introduced for lodging appeals (ranging from one week to one month) and for decisions at the first appeal stage (ranging from two to six months);

Ensure common guarantees for asylum seekers: Asylum seekers will be guaranteed the right to a personal interview and to free legal assistance and representation already during the administrative procedure. Reinforced safeguards are provided for asylum seekers with special needs and for unaccompanied minors, for whom a guardian should be assigned at the latest five days after an application has been made;

Ensure stricter rules to combat abuse: New obligations to cooperate with the authorities are introduced as well as strict consequences if these obligations are not met. Sanctions for abuse of the process, lack of cooperation and secondary movements, which are currently optional, are made compulsory, and include the rejection of the application as implicitly withdrawn or manifestly unfounded, or the application of the accelerated procedure;

Harmonise rules on safe countries: The Commission clarifies and makes mandatory the application of the safe country concepts. The Commission also proposes to fully replace the national designations of safe countries of origin and safe third countries with European lists or designations at EU level within five years from the entry into force of the Regulation.

Harmonised protection standards and rights
Asylum seekers must be able to obtain the same form of protection regardless of the Member State in which they make their application and for as long as it is needed. To harmonise protection standards in the EU and put an end to secondary movements and asylum shopping, the Commission proposes to replace the existing Qualification Directive with a new Regulation. The proposal will ensure:

Greater convergence of recognition rates and forms of protection: The type of protection and the duration of residence permits granted to beneficiaries of international protection will be harmonised. Member States will be obliged to take into account guidance provided by the European Agency for Asylum on the situation in the country of origin of an asylum seeker as well as assessing possible internal protection alternatives whilst fully respecting the principle of non-refoulement.

Firmer rules sanctioning secondary movements: The five-year waiting period for beneficiaries of international protection to become eligible for long term resident status will be restarted each time the person is found in a Member State where he/she does not have the right to stay or reside;

Protection is granted only for as long as it is needed: A compulsory status review is introduced to take into account, for example, changes in countries of origin which could impact the need for protection;

Strengthened integration incentives: The rights and obligations of persons benefitting from international protection with regard to social security and social assistance will be clarified and access to certain types of social assistance can be made conditional on participation in integration measures.

Dignified and harmonised reception conditions throughout the EU
Finally, the Commission is proposing to reform the Reception Conditions Directive to ensure that asylum seekers can benefit from harmonised and dignified reception standards throughout the EU, hence helping to prevent secondary movements. The reform includes:

Ensuring Member States apply the standards and indicators on reception conditions developed by the European Asylum Support Office and draw up and constantly update contingency plans to ensure sufficient and adequate reception capacity, including in situations of disproportionate pressure;

Ensuring asylum seekers remain available and discouraging them from absconding by allowing Member States to assign a residence to them or impose reporting obligations. In cases where an asylum seeker is not complying with the obligation to reside in a specific place and where there is a risk of absconding, Member States can make use of detention;

Clarifying that reception conditions will only be provided in the Member State responsible and establishing clearer rules on when entitlement to material reception conditions can be scaled back and when financial allowances may be replaced with material reception conditions provided in kind;

Granting earlier access to the labour market, at the latest six months after an application for asylum is lodged, thereby reducing dependency, and providing that such access is in full compliance with labour market standards;

Common reinforced guarantees for asylum seekers with special needs and for unaccompanied minors, for whom a guardian should be assigned at the latest five days after an application has been made.

Background
Upon taking office, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker entrusted a Commissioner with special responsibility for Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, to work together with the other Commissioners, under the coordination of First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, on a new policy on migration as one of the 10 priorities of the Political Guidelines of the Juncker Commission.
On 13 May 2015, the European Commission proposed a far-reaching strategy, through the European Agenda on Migration, to tackle the immediate challenges of the ongoing crisis, as well as to equip the EU with the tools to better manage migration in the medium and long term, in the areas of irregular migration, borders, asylum and legal migration. Three implementation packages under the Agenda were presented last year, on 27 May 2015, 9 September2015 and 15 December 2015.
On 6 April 2016, the European Commission published a Communication which launched the process for reforming the current Common European Asylum System as announced by President Juncker in his Political Guidelines and as set out in the European Agenda on Migration.
Thereafter, the Commission presented a first package of reforms on 4 May 2016. The package included proposals for establishing a sustainable and fair Dublin system, reinforcing the Eurodac system and establishing a genuine European Agency for Asylum.
The Communication from 6 April also set the objective of reducing irregular migration flows including by establishing safe and legal channels for those in need of protection to reach the EU. To this end, the Commission is also today presenting a proposal for an EU Resettlement Framework.
For more information
Questions and Answers – Reforming the Common European Asylum System
FACTSHEET – Asylum procedures: reforming the Common European Asylum System
FACTHSEET – Qualification: Reforming the Common European Asylum System
FACTSHEET – Reception Conditions: reforming the Common European Asylum System
FACTSHEET – The Common European Asylum System
Press release – Legal Migration: Commission proposes to pool EU resettlement efforts over the long term
Frequently asked questions – Establishing an EU Resettlement Framework
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council establishing a common procedure in the Union and repealing Directive 2013/13/EU
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and Council on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection   and for the content of the protection granted and amending Council Directive 2003/109/EC of 25 November 2003 concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents
Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (recast)
Press release: Towards a sustainable and fair Common European Asylum System
Questions and Answers: Reforming the Common European Asylum System (4 May)
FACTSHEET: The reform of the Dublin System
Communication: Towards a Reform of the Common European Asylum System and Enhancing Legal Avenues to Europe
European Agenda on Migration

Visa reciprocity with US and Canada: Commission takes stock of latest developments

MIL OSI – Source: European Union – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Visa reciprocity with US and Canada: Commission takes stock of latest developments

The European Commission has today adopted a Communication regarding the visa reciprocity situation with Canada and the United States, evaluating the progress achieved in discussions with both countries and setting out the next steps. Today’s stock-taking follows the Communication adopted on 12 April where the Commission noted that full visa waiver reciprocity with Canada and the United States had not been achieved for citizens of some EU Member States.
Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said: “Achieving full visa waiver reciprocity for citizens of all Member States is the objective for the European Commission and a fundamental principle of our common visa policy. In the past three months, we have intensified contacts with the US and Canada to push for full visa waiver reciprocity. However, despite the constructive engagement in particular of the Canadian government, citizens from some EU Member States still need visas to travel to the US and Canada. We will continue to work towards full visa reciprocity and we will coordinate our activities with the Member States concerned, the European Parliament and the Council to accelerate the delivery of results.”
The Commission’s assessment of the consequences of a potential suspension of the visa waiver, presented in April, noted that this approach would have a substantial impact on the EU’s external relations with Canada and the US. A suspension would very likely also lead to negative economic impacts for the EU, without bringing about full visa reciprocity. Therefore, the Commission invited the European Parliament and the Council to take a position on the most appropriate way forward by 12 July 2016. The Commission notes that the Council did not yet express a position on the matter and the European Parliament did not yet adopt a position in Plenary.
In recent months, contacts with the US and Canada have been intensified, including at the highest political level, to achieve full visa waiver reciprocity. With the Communication adopted today, the Commission commits to continue to push for full visa reciprocity and will coordinate its activities with the relevant Member States to accelerate the delivery of results.
In this regard, at the 11 July Ministerial meeting in Brussels, Canada undertook to inform in early autumn about the outcomes of the assessments and timelines for lifting the visa requirement, including on the necessary elements of cooperation with Bulgaria and Romania.  The Commission looks forward to the EU-Canada Summit, which will take place on 27-28 October 2016, as the occasion to confirm tangible progress on the lifting of the visa requirement for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens.
The Commission will work closely with both the European Parliament and the Council to ensure that the European Union speaks with one voice on this important matter and will report on the further progress made before the end of the year.
Today’s Commission Communication also welcomes the lifting of visa requirements for Croatian citizens by Brunei on 12 April, ensuring full visa reciprocity for all EU citizens.
Background
Not all non-EU citizens require a visa in order to travel to the Schengen area for short stay visits (not exceeding 90 days in a 180-day period). A common EU list sets out the countries whose citizens require a visa and those countries whose citizens are exempt from that requirement (Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001).
A fundamental principle of EU visa policy is to ensure that third countries on the visa-free list grant a reciprocal visa waiver to citizens of all EU Member States. To support this effort a visa reciprocity mechanism has been set up. This mechanism was amended by the European Parliament and the Council in 2013 (Regulation (EU) 1289/2013) with a view to make it more efficient and to ensure more solidarity in the implementation of the common visa policy.
The current mechanism has been in force for two years and the Commission, in close cooperation with the Member States concerned, has been working hard to ensure that EU citizens can travel as freely as possible to third countries.
In the framework of the reciprocity mechanism, the Commission has already adopted three reports assessing the situation: on 10 October 2014, on 22 April 2015 and on 5 November 2015 and a political Communication on 12 April 2016. In the Communication of 12 April, the Commission invited the European Parliament and the Council to take a position on the most appropriate way forward by 12 July 2016.
While the Council did not express a position on the matter and the European Parliament did not yet adopt a position in Plenary, the Chairman of the Committeeon Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament sent a letter to the Commission on 7 June requesting the Commission to adopt the delegated acts suspending the visa waivers for citizens of Canada and the US as foreseen under the reciprocity mechanism in Regulation 539/2001.
The United Kingdom and Ireland do not take part in the development of the common visa policy and would not be bound by a visa waiver suspension.
For more information
Follow-up Communication adopted on 13 July 2016
Joint Statement by Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship, and John McCallum, Canadian Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, following meetings in Brussels, 11 July
Communication of 12 April – State of play and way forward as regards the situation of non-reciprocity
5 November 2015 – Report from the Commission assessing the situation of non-reciprocity with certain third countries in the area of visa policy
22 April 2015 – Report from the Commission assessing the situation of non-reciprocity with certain third countries in the area of visa policy
10 October 2014 – Report from the Commission assessing the situation of non-reciprocity with certain third countries in the area of visa policy
MEMO – EU visa reciprocity mechanism – Questions and Answers
Council Regulation listing those countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001)
Council Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement(Regulation (EU) 1289/2013)

EU visa reciprocity mechanism – Questions and Answers

MIL OSI – Source: European Union – Press Release/Statement

Headline: EU visa reciprocity mechanism – Questions and Answers

What is the visa reciprocity mechanism?
The visa reciprocity mechanism is a legal provision under EU law aiming to achieve visa-free travel for citizens of all Member States (except the UK and Ireland who do not participate in the common visa policy) to every non-EU country whose citizens can travel to the EU/Schengen area without a visa.
The EU has a common list of countries whose citizens must have a visa and of countries whose citizens are exempt from that requirement (see Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001).
In the spirit of solidarity, the EU seeks that third countries on the visa free list grant a visa waiver to citizens of all EU Member States. For this reason, a visa reciprocity mechanism has been set up.
The current mechanism was introduced by Regulation (EU) 1289/2013 and entered into force in January 2014.
Which countries continue to require visas from EU citizens despite the fact that their nationals can travel to the EU/Schengen area without a visa?

The U.S. requires visas for the citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania. In addition, the U.S. Congress adopted new travel restrictions in December 2015 that potentially concern all Member States admitted to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (e.g. a French-Iranian dual national now needs a visa to the U.S.). The visa refusal statistics for 2015 are, for Bulgaria: 17.26%; Croatia 5.29%; Cyprus: 3.53%; Poland: 6.37%; Romania: 11.16%.

Canada continues to apply a visa requirement for the citizens of Bulgaria and Romania. The visa refusal rate for these two countries remains well above the required 4% threshold over the last 3 years (the 2013-2015 average is around 16% for both countries.

Why did the College discuss visa reciprocity with the US and Canada again?
On 12 April 2016, the Commission adopted a Communication on visa reciprocity. In the Communication the Commission considered that a temporary suspension of visa waiver under the EU’s reciprocity mechanism for Canadian and U.S. citizens would have a substantial impact on the EU’s external relations with these two countries; it would very likely lead to significant negative impacts for the EU and it would not bring full visa reciprocity for all EU citizens. Therefore, the Commission invited the European Parliament and the Council to launch discussions and to take a position by 12 July 2016on the most appropriate way forward. The Commission today to revert to the matter to take stock of developments in the past three months.
Did the European Parliament and the Council inform the Commission on their respective positions?
The Council did not express a position and no plenary discussion took place in the European Parliament on the matter. However, the Chairman of the Committeeon Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament sent a letter to the Commission on 7 June requesting the Commission to adopt the delegated acts suspending the visa requirement for citizens of Canada and the U.S.
Is the Commission proposing the reintroduction of visas for citizens from the US and Canada today?
No. The Commission has today adopted evaluated the progress achieved in discussions with both countries and set out the next steps. A decision to propose the suspension of visa waivers for citizens of third countries under the visa reciprocity mechanism must take into account the consequences of such a suspension for the external relations of the EU and its Member States.
At this point of time, the Commission considered that suspending the visa waiver for the citizens of these two countries would have a substantial impact on the EU’s external relations with Canada and the US and would very likely lead to significantly negative impacts for the EU whtout bringing full visa reciprocity for all EU citizens. Suspending the visa waiver would rather deteriorate than improve situation for citizens and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.
What are the next steps?
A series of high level meetings with both Canada and the U.S. countries are planned in the coming months, where the Commission will further raise the issue of visa waiver reciprocity. The EU-Canada Summit will take place by end of October and the next EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial meeting is foreseen before the end of the year. In addition, technical contacts will also be further intensified. The Commission commits to continue to push for full visa reciprocity and will coordinate its activities with the relevant Member States to accelerate the delivery of results. The Commission will work closely with both the European Parliament and the Council to ensure that the European Union speaks with one voice on this important matter and will report on the further progress made before the end of the year
What has the Commission done so far to achieve full visa reciprocity with the US and Canada?
Today’s Communication shows that in the past three months contacts with the US and Canada have been intensified, including at the highest political level, to achieve full visa waiver reciprocity.
Among other meetings, on 11 July Commissioner Avramopoulos had a productive meeting with Immigration Minister John McCallum as well as Bulgarian and Romanian counterparts. At this meeting, the Canadian side undertook to inform in early autumn on the outcomes of the assessment of their technical expert missions to the two Member States and timelines for lifting the visa requirement, including on the necessary elements of cooperation with Bulgaria and Romania.
The Commission will continue its work until all non-reciprocity cases are solved.
For more information
Press release – Visa reciprocity with US and Canada: Commission takes stock of latest developmentsFollow-up Communication adopted on 13 July 2016
Joint Statement by Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship, and John McCallum, Canadian Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, following meetings in Brussels, 11 July

Establishing an EU Resettlement Framework: Frequently asked questions

MIL OSI – Source: European Union – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Establishing an EU Resettlement Framework: Frequently asked questions

Why is the Commission proposing an EU Resettlement Framework?
The aim of the proposal is to establish a common European policy on resettlement by providing for a permanent framework with a unified procedure for resettlement across the EU. The EU Resettlement Framework will channel EU financial support towards a structured framework based on a common approach and procedures and away from the current ad hoc multilateral and national resettlement initiatives. While the Member States will remain the ones deciding on how many people will be resettled each year, by coordinating national efforts and acting as a whole, the EU will have a greater impact and will be able to contribute collectively and with one single voice to global resettlement efforts.
Resettlement is an integral part of the larger objective to establish a robust and effective European approach for sustainable migration management. Providing safe and legal pathways to the EU for persons in need of international protection will contribute to reducing irregular migration and help breaking the business model of smuggling networks. It is also a concrete demonstration of international solidarity and responsibility sharing with those countries to which or within which a large number of persons in need of international protection has been displaced.
What common EU rules does the proposal foresee?
The proposal provides common EU rules for:

The admission of third country nationals through resettlement;

The procedures governing all stages of the resettlement process;

The types of status to be accorded to resettled persons by Member States;

The decision making procedures for the implementation of the framework;

The financial support for the Member States’ resettlement efforts within the EU resettlement framework.

How will the new scheme be implemented?
The new EU resettlement framework will be implemented through an annual EU resettlement plan and operationalised by one or more targeted EU resettlement schemes.
The annual EU resettlement plan, adopted by the Council on a proposal from the Commission, determines the maximum total number of persons to be resettled based on the participation and contributions made by the Member States to the total number of persons to be resettled. The annual plan should also indicate the overall geographical priorities for resettlement. Given that resettlement will be supported by the EU budget, the proposal foresees that the Commission presents its proposal for the annual EU resettlement plan together with its proposal on the draft EU annual budget. The Council should be able to react quickly and adopt an implementing act within two months.
As soon as possible after the adoption of the annual EU resettlement plan by the Council, the Commission establishes each year one or more targeted EU resettlement schemes to operationalise the EU resettlement plan.
For each targeted EU resettlement scheme, the Commission will set the precise number out of the total number of persons to be resettled from a concrete third country or geographical region and details about the participation of the Member States consistent with the annual EU resettlement plan. The scheme will also include a description of the target group(s) of persons to be resettled and specify a geographical area covering one or more third countries from which resettlement will take place. The starting date and duration of each targeted EU resettlement scheme will also be specified as well as which resettlement procedure will apply. An ordinary procedure should be seen as the norm, unless an expedited procedure is warranted on humanitarian grounds or in case of urgent legal or physical protection needs.
Does the proposal contain a distribution key?
No, the maximum total number of persons to be resettled to the EU every year within the EU resettlement framework will be set by the Council in the annual EU resettlement plan. The Member States remain the ones deciding on how many people they will resettle each year. When discussing the annual resettlement plan or targeted EU resettlement schemes, the Commission and the Council should take into account the discussions within the High-Level Resettlement Committee, composed of representatives of the EU Institutions and Member States. The Associated States, the EU Asylum Agency, UNHCR and IOM can also be invited to join the Committee.
How will the annual EU resettlement plan and the targeted EU resettlement schemes be adopted?
The Council adopts annual EU resettlement plans through an implementing act on the basis of a proposal from the Commission. The Commission adopts targeted EU resettlement schemes through Commission implementing acts.
How will the resettlement procedure work step-by-step?
The EU Resettlement Framework will allow for two types of standard resettlement procedures: an ordinary or an expedited resettlement procedure. Both procedures will consist of the following four stages: identification, registration, assessment and decision.
Member States are responsible for identifying the persons to be resettled. The identification can be made either through a referral by the UNHCR, or where applicable, the new EU Asylum Agency (currently EASO) or relevant international bodies, or by the Member States themselves. After registering the third-country nationals and stateless persons for whom they intend to conduct the resettlement procedure, Member States will assess whether these persons meet the eligibility criteria and whether they are not excluded in accordance with exclusion grounds. Under the ordinary procedure, in the case of a positive decision Member States will grant to the persons to be resettled a refugee status or a subsidiary protection status. Under the expedite procedure, after the admission to the resettling Member State, the person to be resettled will apply for international protection, and follow the asylum procedure as stipulated by the EU asylum law. Member States will make all arrangements necessary for the departure of the third-country nationals and, with a view to facilitating a rapid, smooth, and effective integration into the host society, offer a pre-departure orientation programme.
Who can qualify for resettlement and how will persons eligible for resettlement be identified?
The possibility for resettlement under the new EU Resettlement Framework is foreseen for third-country nationals and stateless persons who are in need of international protection and have been displaced to a third country or within their own country due to a well-founded fear of persecution or due to substantial grounds for believing that they would face a real risk of suffering serious harm.
Persons falling within at least one of the following vulnerability categories are eligible: women and girls at risk, children and adolescents at risk, including unaccompanied children, survivors of violence and/or torture, including on the basis of gender, persons with medical needs or disabilities, persons with legal and/or physical protection needs, and persons with socio-economic vulnerability. Persons with family links to third-country nationals or stateless persons or EU citizens legally residing in a Member State or who are dependent on them are also eligible.
What are the grounds for exclusion from resettlement under the EU Resettlement Framework?
Persons who have irregularly entered, irregularly stayed in, or attempted to irregularly enter the territory of a Member States during the last five years prior to resettlement will be excluded from participation in the EU Resettlement Framework.
Exclusion also applies to third-country nationals and stateless persons whom a Member State has, during the last five years prior to resettlement, refused to resettle.
Persons will also be excluded from resettlement on the basis of the security criteria set out in the Regulation, notably persons for whom there are reasonable grounds for considering that they: have committed a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity; a serious crime; are a danger to the community, public policy or security.
What are the criteria for determining the priority countries or regions of resettlement?
The EU will seek partnerships with key third countries of origin and transit through a coherent and tailored engagement where the EU and its Member States act in a coordinated manner, as announced in the Commission Communication on Establishing a new Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration.
For each targeted resettlement scheme, the Commission will list a specific geographical area covering one or more third countries from which resettlement will take place, taking into account the annual EU resettlement plan. When doing so, the Commission will take into account:

The number of persons in need of international protection displaced to or within a third country and migratory flows of such persons to the Member States;

Complementarity with financial and technical assistance provided to third countries to which or within which persons in need of international protection have been displaced;

The EU’s overall relations with third countries;

Ongoing resettlement efforts worldwide.

What is the difference between the ordinary and the expedited procedure?
The EU Resettlement Framework will allow for two types of standard resettlement procedures: an ordinary or an expedited resettlement procedure.
The ordinary resettlement procedure reflects the resettlement standards and practices usually followed by Member States. It includes a full assessment of qualification for international protection in the third country and foresees that Member States grant refugee status or subsidiary protection status to the resettled person. The procedure should be conducted as soon as possible and within eight months after Member States have registered the third-country nationals or stateless persons concerned. For complex cases, this period may be extended by four months.
The expedited resettlement procedure reflects the approach agreed in the Standard Operating Procedures for the resettlement of Syrians from Turkey under the EU-Turkey Statement. This procedure is foreseen in cases where there are specific humanitarian grounds or urgent legal or physical protection needs. The resettlement procedure should be conducted within four months of the registration. For complex cases, the period may be extended by two months. The assessment of the international protection needs under the expedited resettlement procedure will be limited to an assessment of the eligibility for subsidiary protection without assessing a qualification for a refugee status.
The same level of security checks should be conducted for both types of procedure.
How can the EU Resettlement Framework contribute to increasing resettlement to Europe?
The proposal provides for a more stable collective framework for resettlement in the EU by reducing divergences among the national resettlement practices and procedures. A common stable and reliable resettlement framework, supported through EU funding, will help to gradually scale up Member States’ resettlement efforts.
Will all EU Member States participate in the Resettlement Framework?
The participation of Member States will be decided by the Council for each annual EU resettlement plan together with the contribution of each Member State to the maximum overall number. The UK and Ireland may take part in the implementation of the Regulation if they choose to do so, in accordance with the relevant Protocols attached to the Treaties. Denmark is not taking part in the adoption of this Regulation and is not bound by it or subject to its application. The Associated States will be invited to participate.
Are applications for asylum lodged before or after the departure of the resettled person?
Persons eligible for resettlement do not apply for asylum as part of the resettlement procedure. In case of a positive outcome of the resettlement procedure under the ordinary procedure, they will be granted an international protection status (either refugee or subsidiary protection status) as part of the resettlement procedure prior to their admission to the territory of the resettling Member State.
Persons admitted via the expedited resettlement procedure, for whom no full refugee qualification assessment has been made, will be able to apply for international protection upon their admission to the resettling Member State. The resettling Member State will be responsible for the examination of such applications.
What about the family members of resettled refugees?
Member States must ensure that the family unity of persons being resettled is maintained. This means that close family members will be resettled together.
How will the EU resettlement schemes be financed?
The EU resettlement schemes will be funded through the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). Member States taking part in this fund will be entitled to a lump sum of €10,000 for each person they resettle under this scheme, regardless of which resettlement procedure is followed. When the Commission proposes a Council implementing act establishing the annual Union resettlement plan, it will also adopt a proposal on the draft Union annual budget including the resources for the implementation of the annual Union resettlement plan for that year.
Will the proposed Framework replace the EU-wide approach from 20 July 2015, the 1:1 scheme and the voluntary humanitarian admission scheme with Turkey?
The proposal builds on the current EU resettlement initiatives, as well as the ongoing national resettlement schemes. It sets out a more structured and common approach to resettlement for the future.
Can Member States still have their national resettlement schemes?
Yes. Member States may still adopt or implement national resettlement schemes, but these schemes should not jeopardise the attainment of the EU objectives set out in this proposal. For example, through their national schemes Member States will be able to contribute an additional number of resettlement places to the EU resettlement schemes, going beyond their agreed contribution.
Can the national resettlement schemes still be financed by EU funding?
EU funding will only be provided to Member States when resettling through the EU Resettlement Framework. Resettlements under national resettlement schemes outside of this framework will not be supported financially from the EU budget.
For more information
Press release: Enhancing legal channels: Commission proposes to create common EU Resettlement Framework
Regulation establishing a Union Resettlement Framework and amending Regulation (EU) No 516/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council
Press release: Completing the reform of the Common European Asylum System: Towards an efficient, fair and humane asylum policy
Frequently asked questions: Reforming the Common European Asylum System
FACTSHEET – Asylum procedures: reforming the Common European Asylum System
FACTHSEET – Qualification: Reforming the Common European Asylum System
FACTSHEET – Reception Conditions: reforming the Common European Asylum System

Reforming the Common European Asylum System: Frequently asked questions

MIL OSI – Source: European Union – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Reforming the Common European Asylum System: Frequently asked questions

The Common European Asylum System provides common minimum standards for the treatment of all asylum seekers. It consists of a legal framework covering all aspects of the asylum process and a support agency – the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). However, in practice, the current system leaves a lot of discretion to Member States, and as a result is still characterised by differing treatment of asylum seekers and varying recognition rates amongst EU Member States. These divergences encourage secondary movements and asylum shopping.
In April 2016, in line with the approach set out in the European Agenda on Migration, the Commission set out steps to be taken towards a more humane, fair and efficient European asylum policy as well as a better managed legal migration policy. In May 2016, the Commission presented a first package of legislative proposals, establishing a sustainable and fair Dublin system for determining the Member State responsible for examining asylum applications, reinforcing the Eurodac system and establishing a European Agency for Asylum.
The functioning of the Common European Asylum System relies on establishing common standards for the examination of applications for international protection and for recognition of protection needs at the European Union level.
The Commission is today proposing to complete the reform of the Common European Asylum System through:

the establishment of a common EU asylum procedure for all applications for international protection by replacing the current Asylum Procedures Directive with a Regulation;

ensuring maximum harmonisation of the standards for the qualification and content of protection for refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection by replacing the current Qualification Directive with a Regulation;

a reform of the Reception Conditions Directive to further harmonise reception conditions of applicants for international protection in the EU.

1. A proposal for a new Asylum Procedures Regulation
The Asylum Procedures Directive establishes the procedure and safeguards to be applied during the asylum procedure.
What are the main weaknesses of the existing Asylum Procedures Directive?
Procedures for obtaining and withdrawing international protection currently differ between Member States, for instance as regards the time taken for examining a claim, procedural guarantees provided to applicants and the use of accelerated and inadmissibility examination procedures. The current procedures are generally too complex, too lengthy and applicants are not treated the same way in each Member State. These discrepancies between Member States’ procedures contribute to differences in recognition rates, secondary movements, so called asylum shopping and ultimately, to an unfair distribution of responsibilities among Member States. The degree of harmonisation of national procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection that was achieved through the recast Asylum Procedures Directive, adopted in 2013, has proven to be insufficient to address these problems.
Why is the Commission proposing to replace the Directive with a Regulation?
The Commission is proposing the adoption of a Regulation which will establish a common Union asylum procedure for all applications for international protection, irrespective of which Member State the applications are examined in. The replacement of a legal instrument which requires transposition into national law with another instrument whose provisions are clear, precise and directly applicable is the best way to secure the full harmonisation of asylum procedures and create a common procedure applicable to all Member States. A Regulation is directly applicable, which means that it can be directly relied upon by both the applicants for international protection and by the authorities. This is the most effective way for guaranteeing the rights of applicants and equity in the treatment of applications across all Member States.
What are the main objectives of the proposal?
The new Asylum Procedures Regulation will:

Establish a common procedure for international protection applicable in the same way in all Member States;

Make the procedure faster, simpler and more effective;

Provide the tools for national authorities to examine and decide upon applications efficiently, fight abuse and prevent secondary movements;

Ensure common procedural guarantees for the individual applicants.

How will the new Regulation simplify and clarify the procedure for international protection?
The proposal clarifies the various procedural steps and concepts, starting from access to the procedure to the final decision on an application for international protection – ensuring a common procedure for all Member States. The Regulation contains the specific timelines, tasks and responsibilities of the competent national authorities for every step of the procedure, and clearer obligations, rights and procedural safeguards for the applicants.
What are the steps for filing an asylum application?
Access to the procedure is based on a three-step approach: making, registering and lodging an application.
An application is considered to be made as soon as the person expresses a wish to receive international protection from a Member State. From the moment an application is made the person becomes an applicant and benefits from the rights under the Asylum Procedure Regulation and the Reception Conditions Directive.
The application needs to be registered promptly and at the latest within three working days from when it is made. The authorities registering the application have a duty to inform the applicant of his/her rights and obligations as well as the consequences in case of non-compliance.
Lodging is the final step to access the procedure. Applicants must be given an effective opportunity to lodge their application within ten working days from when their application is registered. At this stage, applicants must submit all the elements at their disposal in order to substantiate and complete their applications. This is an important step since it triggers the timeline for the examination of the applications.
What would the duration be for processing an application?
The overall duration of the administrative procedure remains at a maximum of six months from the lodging. This may be prolonged once by three months in exceptional cases of disproportionate pressure on the asylum system or due to the complexity of the case (the current Directive foresees the possibility to prolong the procedure by 9 months). The procedure may be temporarily suspended because of changes in the country of origin. In those cases, the procedure should not exceed 15 months.
Will time limits for the accelerated and admissibility examination procedure be introduced?
The introduction of time limits is being proposed for the duration of the accelerated examination procedure (maximum two months) and for the admissibility procedure (maximum one month). In cases where an applicant comes from a first country of asylum or a safe third country, the admissibility of the claim must be examined within ten working days.
Will time limits for appeals be introduced?
Yes, time limits are set for lodging appeals, as well as for the duration of the first appeal stage. The time limits for lodging an appeal range from one week to one month, depending on the type of procedure that led to the rejection of the application. For decisions at the first appeal stage, the time limit varies from two to six months, depending again on the type of procedure that led to the rejection of the application. This may be prolonged by three months in cases involving complex issues of fact or law.
No specific time limits are foreseen for subsequent appeals. However, the right to stay during such subsequent appeals will be exceptional, and a decision on it will have to be taken during a period of one month from the lodging of the further appeal.
Does the proposal foresee the possibility to extend these time limits?
The time limits foreseen for the registering, lodging and processing of applications may be exceptionally extended in situations where a Member State receives a disproportionate number of simultaneous applications. This exception is provided for to support the Member States in cases of disproportionate pressure on the asylum system. However, to ensure an effective process, extending the time limits should be a measure of last resort.
Will the use of the accelerated procedure become compulsory in certain cases?
Yes, under certain limited grounds which include cases where applicants makes clearly inconsistent or false representations, misleads the authorities with false information, or comes from a safe country of origin. Similarly, an application should be examined under the accelerated examination procedure where it is clearly abusive, such as when the applicant seeks to delay or frustrate the enforcement of a return decision, or when the applicant has absconded.
When can an application be declared inadmissible?
If applicants have already found a first country of asylum where they enjoy protection, or where their applications can be examined by a safe third country, applications must be declared inadmissible. Subsequent applications without new relevant elements or findings, and separate unjustified applications by a spouse, partner, dependant adult or accompanied minor, are also to be declared inadmissible.
At which stage is the admissibility assessment done?
The first Member State in which an application has been lodged should examine the admissibility on account of the first country of asylum or safe third country, before determining the Member State responsible in accordance with the new Dublin Regulation.
Is the processing of subsequent applications also being simplified?
Yes. Subsequent applications are first subject to a preliminary examination to determine if the applicant brings forward relevant new elements or findings. If this is not the case, the subsequent application is to be dismissed as inadmissible or as manifestly unfounded. The personal interview may be dispensed with where, from the written submissions, it is clear that the application does not give rise to relevant new elements or findings, or that it is clearly without tangible prospects of success. Where subsequent applications are rejected, there will be no automatic right to remain on the territory of the Member State.
Why are obligations set out for applicants during the procedure?
A common procedure cannot be effectively achieved if certain obligations are not fulfilled by applicants. The aim is to make the applicant take more responsibility throughout the procedure. This is also a way to combat abuse and to offer Member States the efficient tools to fight secondary movements. At the same time, this would avoid a situation where a limited number of Member States are examining the bulk of applications for international protection.
What are the main obligations for applicants under the new proposal?
The main obligations are the following:

The applicant must apply for international protection in the Member State of first entry or where he or she is legally present. This obligation derives from the proposed Dublin reform;

The applicant must cooperate with the authorities; he/she must provide the necessary details to establish his/her identity and for the examination of the applications, as well as fingerprints and a facial image;

The applicant must remain in the Member State examining the application, and he /she must respect reporting obligations according to the recast Reception Conditions Directive.

What happens if the applicant doesn’t fulfil his or her obligations?
Non-compliance with these obligations may lead to an application being rejected as abandoned under a procedure for implicit withdrawal. Where applicants abscond, their application will be examined under an accelerated examination procedure. Where an application is rejected as abandoned or rejected following an accelerated examination procedure, the applicant will no longer have an automatic right to remain on the territory of the Member State. In cases of subsequent applications, applicants do not enjoy the right of free legal assistance and they do not have a right to remain.
Will the border procedure change?
The border procedure provides for the possibility to decide at the border or transit zones of A Member State on the admissibility of an applicant and the substance of an application. Access to the territory should be granted in order the application to be processed if, within four weeks, no decision has been taken by the Member State.
The border procedure remains optional since this kind of procedure normally implies the use of detention. It can be applied for examining the admissibility or the merits of applications on the same grounds as under an accelerated examination procedure. A decision needs to be taken within four weeks, which is also the currently applicable time limit. If no decision is taken within those four weeks, the applicant gains the right to enter and remain on the territory.
Can the border procedure and the accelerated examination procedures be applied to unaccompanied minors?
The application of these special procedures is limited with regard to unaccompanied minors. More generally, adequate support needs to be provided to vulnerable applicants for these procedures to apply to them.
How will the proposal reinforce the guarantees for every applicant?
All applicants must be fully informed of their rights, obligations and of the consequences of not complying with their obligations. The proposal widens the scope for free legal assistance, which will also be available during the administrative procedure. Applicants will therefore, at their request and where necessary, receive free legal assistance and representation throughout all stages of the procedure.
The applicants have a right to be heard in a personal interview subject to a few exceptions. Applicants will be provided interpretation and may be assisted by a legal adviser during the personal interview. A personal interview is also provided for in the context of withdrawal of status.
Reinforced safeguards are provided for applicants with special procedural needs and unaccompanied minors.
How will the new rules reinforce the guarantees for unaccompanied minors?
The best interest of the child is the primary consideration in all procedures applicable to unaccompanied minors in line with Article 24 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The proposal reinforces the guarantees that are available for vulnerable persons, and in particular for unaccompanied minors. The Commission has in particular foreseen several measures aimed at securing prompt and effective guardianship for these children. The responsible authorities have to appoint a guardian as soon as possible and no later than five working days from the moment an unaccompanied minor makes an application for asylum. The time limit for lodging for unaccompanied minors will only start from the moment the guardian is appointed and meets with the child.
Is the right to be heard respected in the new proposal?
Yes. The applicants have the right to be heard through a personal interview on the admissibility or merits of their application, irrespective of the type of administrative procedure applied to their case. The personal interview may only be omitted in limited cases, when the determining authority is certain to take a positive decision on the application or it is of the opinion that the applicant is unfit or unable to be interviewed owing to enduring circumstance beyond his or her control or in the context of subsequent applications under certain conditions.
What about the right to remain on the territory of a Member State during the procedure?
As a general rule, for an asylum applicant to be able to exercise his or her right to an effective remedy, he or she has the right to remain until the time limit for lodging a first level of appeal expires and where the applicant exercises such right, pending the outcome of the remedy.
Asylum applicants have the right to remain on the territoryof the Member State for the duration of the administrative procedure. However, this does not constitute an entitlement to residence, and it does not give the applicant the right to travel to another Member State without authorisation. Exceptions from the right to remain during the administrative procedure are limited to certain cases of subsequent applications and cases of surrender or extradition to a Member State, third country or an international court.
What about the rules concerning safe countries?
The Commission considers that the ‘safe country’ concepts constitute a critical aspect of a common approach. It is an essential tool to support the swift processing of applications. Therefore, the proposal clarifies these concepts, and makes their application mandatory, including in individual cases.
Is the Commission considering establishing a European list of safe countries?
The Commission proposes to progressively move towards full harmonisation in this area. It proposes the full replacement of national safe country lists with European lists or designations in five years’ time from the entry into force of the Asylum Procedures Regulation.
In September 2015, following to the European Council conclusions of 25-26 June, the Commission proposed an EU common list of safe countries of origin to allow for swifter processing of individual asylum applications from candidates originating from countries considered to be safe across the EU, and for faster returns if the individual assessments of the applications confirm no right of asylum. The Commission proposed to add Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey to this list. Other countries can be added in future following a thorough assessment by the European Commission. The LIBE Committee of the European Parliament endorsed the Commission’s proposal for an EU common list on 7 July.
A similar list of safe third countries is also to be established, in accordance with the criteria set out in the regulation, at a later stage following the legislative procedure.
How will the new EU Agency for Asylum support the Member States?
With its new mandate, the Agency will be able to provide Member States with the necessary operational and technical assistance to help them to register and process applications within the appropriate time limit. The mandate of the Agency provides that, where no request for assistance is made by a Member State and where due to disproportionate pressure the asylum system in a Member State becomes ineffective to such an extent that it jeopardises the functioning of the Common European Asylum System, the Agency may, based on an implementing decision of the Commission, take measures in support of that Member State. Moreover, the Agency will assist the Commission in assessing the situation in third countries designated as safe country of origin or safe third countries at Union level.
Does the new proposal foresee the possibility for Member States to help each other in times of crisis?
Yes, this is foreseen in the new proposal. The authorities of other Member States and international organisations may also assist in the registration and examination of applications.
 
2. A proposal for a new Qualification Regulation
The Qualification Directive establishes common grounds for granting international protection and foresees a series of rights for its beneficiaries (residence permits, travel documents, access to employment and education, social welfare and healthcare).
What are the main weaknesses of the existing Qualifications Directive?
Recognition rates still vary between Member States and the type of protection status granted also differs from one country to another (Geneva Convention refugee status versus subsidiary protection status). In addition, there is a considerable disparity in the duration of the residence permits, as well as in the access to specific rights, especially social assistance. The differences of recognition and level of rights provided by Member States can contribute to secondary movements and undue pull factors to certain Member States. Moreover, the absence of systematic reviews of the status for example when changes in countries of origin could have an impact on the need for protection makes the system of protection permanent, thereby providing for protection even if it is not needed anymore.
Why is the Commission proposing to replace the Directive with a Regulation?
The Commission is proposing to replace the Qualification Directive with a Regulation to ensure maximum harmonisation of the standards for the qualification and content of protection for refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection. Applicants for international protection must have the same chance of obtaining the same form of protection, or having their claim rejected, irrespective of where they apply for asylum in the Union.
How will the proposal harmonise the common criteria for recognising applicants for international protection?
The new proposal includes prescriptive rules, replacing the current optional ones concerning the duty of the applicant to substantiate the application, the assessment of the internal protection alternatives and the grounds for withdrawal on the basis of being a danger to the security of the Member State or having been convicted for a particularly serious crime.
How can the reform ensure more convergence of asylum decisions across the EU?
The new proposal obliges the Member States to take into account common analysis and guidance on the situation in the country of origin, provided at Union level by the European Union Agency for Asylum and the European Country of Origin Information networks in accordance with new provisions of the proposed Regulation, when deciding on an asylum application. Protection should only be granted to those who need it and for as long as it continues to be needed.
Will the situation of each asylum seeker be reviewed regularly?
Yes. The granting international protection has in practice almost invariably led to permanent settlement in the EU, while its purpose was to grant protection only for so long as the risk of persecution or serious harm persists.  The new provisions therefore introduce the obligation for Member States to carry out systematic and regular status reviews in case of significant changes in the situation in the country of origin based on analysis and guidance provided by the EU Agency for Asylum as well as when they intend to renew the residence permits, for the first time for refugees and for the first and second time for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection.
Despite the existing obligation to withdraw the status when the risk of persecution or serious harm ceases, there are currently only few systematic status reviews by the Member States.
Will the regular reviews be an obstacle to integration?
To avoid negative impacts on the prospects of integration which could result from an unsecure status, as well as unnecessary administrative burden, obligatory reviews (other than the ones triggered by a change in the country of origin) would only be required in the early stages after status has been granted (after three years for refugees and after years one and two for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection). If status is to be withdrawn, a 3-month grace period is proposed, to give the beneficiary the opportunity to apply for another legal migration status (for example for a Blue Card or on the basis of family reasons).
Can Member States limit the social assistance provided to beneficiaries?
Member States may continue to limit the provision of social assistance to core benefits in respect of beneficiaries of subsidiary protection. In addition they can make access to certain types of social assistances conditional on effective participation in integration measures in line with the Action Plan on Integration presented by the Commission on 7 June.
How will the proposal address the issue of secondary movements?
The harmonisation of recognition rates and type of protection status granted should contribute to a decrease in secondary movements.
Additionally, the 5-year waiting period for beneficiaries of international protection to become eligible for long term resident status will be restarted each time a person is found in a Member State where he/she does not have the right to stay or reside. This will provide a strong disincentive against secondary movements.
How does the proposal impact on the right to family reunification?
Family reunification – the right for a family member to reunite with the refugee and to be admitted to an EU Member State for that purpose – is regulated by the Family Reunification Directive. The proposed Qualification Regulation does not impact on the Family Reunification Directive.
The proposed Qualification Regulation contains rules for family members who are already on the territory of a Member State together with the refugee or the beneficiary of subsidiary protection, in order to provide for a residence permit to be able to stay with him/her. The definition of ‘family members’ has been adjusted to include families formed before the applicant arrived in the territory of the Member States (rather than restricting it to families formed in the country-of-origin, as was previously the case). This change is made to reflect the realities of migration today, where persons displaced from their country of origin often spend prolonged periods of time outside of their country of origin before arriving to the EU, for example in refugee camps in neighbouring countries.
 
3. A proposal to reform the Reception Conditions Directive.
The Reception Conditions Directive establishes minimum common standards of living conditions for asylum applicants; ensures that applicants have access to housing, food, employment and health care.

What provisions are included in the Reception Conditions Directive?
The Reception Conditions Directive provides for minimum harmonisation of standards for the reception of applicants for international protection in the EU. It defines what type of reception conditions Member States should provide to asylum seekers (for example housing, food, and schooling) and the way in which they can be provided. The Directive also defines the rights and obligations of asylum seekers regarding reception conditions (for example regarding applicants with special needs or in terms of access to the labour market and situations and conditions in which an applicant may be detained).
What are the objectives of the reform?
The objective is to ensure that, throughout the Union, all asylum seekers fully benefit from the reception conditions set out in this Directive in the Member State in which they are supposed to stay. At the same time, enhancing self-sufficiency and discouraging secondary movements are other important objectives of the proposal.
Who will decide the standards on reception conditions?
To support the convergence between the asylum systems of all Member States, Member States should take into account the standards and indicators on reception conditions developed by the European Asylum Support Office. Member States will also be requested to constantly update contingency plans to ensure sufficient and adequate reception capacity in case of disproportionate pressure.
Will applicants have easier access to labour market?
Yes. Access to labour market must be given at the latest 6 months after an application is lodged. Member States are also encouraged to grant even earlier access, no later than three months from the lodging of an application, where the application is likely to be well-founded. Once granted access to the labour market, applicants shall be entitled to a common set of rights based on equal treatment with nationals of the Member State in question. On the other hand, access shall not be given to those applicants whose application is likely to be unfounded and treated in an accelerated procedure.
What else will change?
Reinforced guarantees are provided for persons with special reception needs and unaccompanied minors, similarly to what it is provided in relation to the procedural-related needs (for example on assessment of special needs, on necessary staff training). The proposal will also require Member States to provide standardised information to all applicants, using a common template, on all reception-related benefits and obligations, including cases where material reception conditions may be restricted.
How will the reform prevent applicants from absconding?
In line with the proposal for Dublin reform, the proposal clarified that reception conditions will be provided only in the Member State responsible for the applicants. The proposal also introduces prescriptive rules for deciding on the residence of an applicant, such as where this is necessary to effectively prevent the applicant from absconding. In those cases, the provision of material reception conditions shall also be subject to the actual residence of the applicant in that specific place. Member States should also require applicants to regularly report to authorities where necessary for preventing the applicants from absconding. New grounds for the detention of applicants have been added to ensure the fulfilment of the obligation to reside in a specific place where this is necessary to prevent the applicant from absconding.
Will detention be a measure that can be used by Member State?
Applicants may already be detained where necessary under the current Reception Conditions Directive, on the basis of an individual assessment and as a measure of last resort. The proposal adds new grounds for detention and provides that Member States may detain an applicant who has not complied with the obligation to reside in a specific place and where there is a continued risk that the applicant may abscond.
How will the proposal prevent abuses?
All the guarantees already provided for in the current Reception Conditions Directive regarding detention remain unchanged: for example detention is only justified when it proves necessary and on the basis of an individual assessment of each case and if other less coercive alternative measures cannot be applied effectively, and the length of the detention should be proportionate. Moreover, applicants will continue to enjoy specific legal and procedural guarantees such as the right to a swift judicial review of the lawfulness of detention.
Can the material entitlements be scaled down?
Clearer rules have been laid down on when entitlement to material reception conditions can be scaled back and when financial allowances may be replaced with material reception conditions provided in kind.
Can the UK, Ireland, Denmark and the Schengen Associated States opt-in or out of these proposal?
The UK and Ireland are not required to participate in the proposed measures, but will instead determine themselves the extent to which they want to participate, in accordance with the relevant Protocols attached to the Treaties.
Denmark is not taking part in the adoption of the proposals and is not bound by them or subject to their application.
The Schengen Associated States (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein) do not take part in the adoption of the proposals and are not bound by the measures adopted.
For more information
Press release: Completing the reform of the Common European Asylum System: Towards an efficient, fair and humane asylum policy
FACTSHEET – Asylum procedures: reforming the Common European Asylum System
FACTHSEET – Qualification: Reforming the Common European Asylum System
FACTSHEET – Reception Conditions: reforming the Common European Asylum System
FACTSHEET – The Common European Asylum System