Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Strengthening refugee protection and meeting challenges: The European Union’s next steps on asylum

As increasing numbers of asylum seekers and migrants undertake precarious journeys by land and sea to reach Europe, the European Union is at a key juncture in its asylum and migration policy-making cycle. The European Council will convene at the end of June to agree upon strategic guidelines intended to set the tone and parameters for future policy-making for the 2014-2020 period in the area of Justice and Home Affairs.

The evolving global context of conflict and displacement, highlighted by the Syria crisis, failures by many States to protect their citizens, and mixed migration more broadly will continue to present new challenges in the asylum domain in the years ahead for the European Union and Member States. While it is clear that significant commitments and investments will be needed to resolve what has become an intractable challenge for the region, it remains to be seen if real progress can be made at a time when European publics are increasingly sceptical of the European Union and immigration, and heads of state may be less willing to act decisively in light of the results of recent European Parliament elections.

A new Migration Policy Institute Europe policy brief, Strengthening refugee protection and meeting challenges: The European Union’s next steps on asylum, identifies the main issues that should be included in the strategic guidelines on asylum, and emphasises the need for a strong basis for future action. The brief, written by Madeline Garlick, former head of policy at the Brussels office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), offers a number of recommendations, including increased engagement by Member States in practical cooperation as a way to strengthen implementation and consolidation of existing EU laws and achieve more consistent, high-quality asylum decision-making.

The policy brief is the first in a joint project between MPI Europe and the International Migration Initiative of the Open Society Foundations. The project, European Union Asylum: Beyond 2014, aims to contribute to development of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) consistent with the European Union’s interests, values, and obligations, through research on challenges and options on asylum to inform the development of evidence-based policies and laws.




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