Migration and Home Affairs

Asylum procedures

The Asylum Procedures Directive

The Asylum Procedures Directive (recast) creates a coherent system to ensure that decisions on applications for international protection are taken efficiently and fairly, by:

  • setting clear rules for registering and lodging applications, making sure that everyone who wishes to request international protection can do so quickly and effectively
  • setting a time-limit for the examination of applications (in principle six months at the administrative stage), while providing for the possibility to accelerate for applications that are likely to be unfounded or were made in bad faith
  • allowing for border procedures and safe country concepts
  • training decision makers and ensuring access to legal assistance
  • providing adequate support to those in need of special guarantees – for example because of their age, disability, illness – including by ensuring that they are granted sufficient time to participate effectively in the procedure
  • providing rules on the right to stay and appeals in front of courts or tribunals.

The Asylum Procedure Regulation proposal

The Commission presented in July 2016 a proposal for a new Asylum Procedure Regulation, aiming at establishing a truly common procedure for international protection which is fair and efficient, while removing incentives for secondary movements between Member States.

As the co-legislators did not reach an agreement on the proposed text, the Commission tabled a new amended proposal along with the Pact on Migration and Asylum, in September 2020. The new text takes stock of the past negotiations and proposes new rules to allow for a more flexible but equally more effective use of border procedure while closing the gaps with returns.

Establishing a truly common international protection procedure within the EU means:

  • replacing current disparate procedural arrangements in Member States with a simpler and clearer procedure, with short but reasonable time-limits for an applicant to accede to the procedure and for concluding the examination of applications both at the administrative and appeal stages.
  • procedural guarantees safeguarding the rights of applicants, including providing adequate and timely information, being heard in a personal interview, free legal assistance, interpretation and representation.
  • more attention to vulnerable individuals with special procedural needs such as unaccompanied minors.
  • stricter rules to prevent abuse of the system, sanction manifestly abusive claims and remove incentives for secondary movements by setting out clear obligations for applicants to cooperate with the determining authorities throughout the procedure and by attaching strict consequences to non-compliance.
  • a compulsory list of grounds where an examination must be accelerated,.
  • Clearer rules for the admissibility checks and for the application of safe third country and first country of asylum concepts
  • harmonised rules for establishing safe countries. The Commission proposes to progressively move towards full harmonisation in this area, and to replace national safe country lists with designations at EU level.

Asylum and return border procedures will be made more flexible and effective by:

  • Joining current rules on asylum and return into one single legislative instrument.
  • Clarifying that while asylum applications made at the EU’s external borders must be assessed, they do not constitute an automatic right to enter the EU.
  • Ensuring that asylum claims that are clearly abusive or where the applicant poses a threat to security or is unlikely to be in need of international protection should be assessed in an asylum border procedure.  

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