Two pieces in today’s The Guardian discuss latest development concerning the EU’s response to refugee crisis. They include quotes from me in relation to Frontex and estimates on irregular entry.  A third piece reports on David Cameron’s alleged victory in retaining the Dublin regulation largely unchanged. ‘Alleged’ for a number of reasons, including:

  • because it is not a victory as the Dublin system has proved to be clearly unworkable in the recent crisis and even before and the Commission is proposing only minimal amendments.
  • because it is appalling to see the lives of people fleeing conflict and persecution used so cynically by both sides in the Tories’ civil war of the EU referendum (three more months to go before the night of the long knives in the Conservative party).

Here the 5 priorities of the EU commission for reforming the Common European Asylum System:

  1. Establishing a sustainable and fair system for determining the Member State responsible for asylum seekers: To deal better with a high number of arrivals and ensure a fair sharing of responsibility, the Commission could propose to amend the Dublin Regulation, either by streamlining and supplementing it with a corrective fairness mechanism or by moving to a new system based on a distribution key.
  2. Achieving greater convergence and reducing asylum shopping: The Commission intends to propose a further harmonisation of asylum procedures, to ensure a more humane and equal treatment across the EU and reduce pull factors that draw people to a small number of Member States. The Commission could propose a new Regulation to replace the Asylum Procedures Directive, and a new Regulation to replace the Qualification Directive. Targeted modifications of the Reception Conditions Directive could also be proposed.
  3. Preventing secondary movements within the EU: To ensure that the Dublin System is not disrupted by abuses and asylum shopping, the Commission could propose measures to discourage and sanction irregular secondary movements. In particular, certain rights could be made conditional upon registration, fingerprinting and stay in the EU country assigned to the applicant.
  4. A new mandate for the EU’s asylum agency: The Commission could propose to amend the European Asylum Support Office’s mandate so it can play a new policy-implementing role as well as a strengthened operational role. This could include operating the distribution mechanism under a reformed Dublin System, monitoring the compliance of Member States with EU asylum rules, identifying measures to remedy shortcomings, and a capacity to take operational measures in emergency situations.
  5. Reinforcing the Eurodac system: To support the application of a reformed Dublin System, the Commission could propose to adapt the Eurodac system and could also propose to expand its purpose, facilitating the fight against irregular migration, better retention and sharing of fingerprints, and support to returns.

Below a selection of my live tweets during the press conference

Read Steve Peers timely analysis here, a brief quote below:

 No criticism of the ‘EU response to the crisis’ should ignore what is ultimately driving that response: the neo-nationalist political parties which are in government in several Member States and form the main opposition in several more. But is endless concessions to these parties really the right strategy?