The European Asylum System and Minimum Standards: ‘Suggestions for practice and policy’

Dr Katerina - Marina Kyrieri, Aniel Pahladsingh
ISBN 13 EIPA Code #: 2010/W/02 Year: 2010 Pages: 39 Digital: 0 €


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Description


Even though the phenomenon of refugees has changed over the course of recent decades, asylum remains an important issue for states all over the world. Whilst two-thirds of refugees live in developing countries, Western countries arguably have a special obligation due to their own value orientation. Thus, a common asylum policy looms large for the European Union (EU) for at least two reasons. Firstly, it has to ensure the maintenance of human rights within its territory and achieve common standards to avoid secondary refugee movements. Secondly, as the EU’s internal borders are increasingly disappearing, an adequate management of external borders becomes a common priority but requires burden-sharing among the Member States (MS).

In the first instance, the EU has drawn up various directives which oblige Member States to adopt minimum standards in the area of asylum. National policies and practices should be in line with those standards so as to promote the second phase of a Common European Asylum System (CEAS). The authors aim to seek suggestions on how Member States’ practices and policies can strengthen the CEAS by complying and rising above the minimum standards and thus improving the protection of human rights for asylum seekers. Whilst seeking better practices and policies the authors use examples from the current situation in the Netherlands and Greece.

The paper is divided into four sections. The first section provides some background information on the international legislation which can be seen as a framework of the EU policies. The second looks into the need for European refugee protection and focuses on the concept of the CEAS. It introduces the main legislative instruments in the asylum process and discusses future possibilities. The third section examines examples of Dutch policies and practices in relation to the minimum standards instruments. In this framework, ‘good’ and ‘less good’ practices as well as problems with the application of the EU minimum standards will be highlighted. Additionally, the influence of human rights will be examined, thus demonstrating that the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is also important for asylum seekers’ policies and practices. The last section of the paper provides some policy recommendations and gives a summary of practices which may apply in asylum cases.