February 26. 2024. 4:44

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LEAK: Pact on migration and Asylum reaffirm the ‘Dublin’ system

Asylum seekers arriving in the EU will be required to apply for asylum in the country they arrive in, according to a leaked European Parliament document obtained by EURACTIV of the Pact on Migration and Asylum.

“Where a third-country national or stateless person intends to make an application for international protection, the application shall be made and registered in the Member State of first entry or the Member State in which that third-country national or stateless person is legally present,” the document states.

It is also specified for people arriving irregularly in a EU member state by “land, sea or air” that “the first Member State thus entered shall be responsible for examining the application for international protection”.

The Pact is the main file on migration in the current EU legislative mandate, which aims to reinforce an EU coordinated approach to asylum and migration. The text will be voted at the end of March by the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee, after more than two years of negotiations.

The provision on applying in the country of arrival marks a major change of tack by MEPs

In the last mandate during the Juncker Commission, the European Parliament approved with a large majority a planned reform of the Dublin regulation to remove the first arrival application provision. However, due to the lack of agreement between the EU institutions, the reform never made it into law.

A reaffirmation of the Dublin system also came from current Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, who called for strict application of the so-called “Dublin roadmap” in a letter sent to member states on migration on Monday (20 March).

EU Commission wants to tighten controls at external borders

The European Commission is committed in tightening controls at EU external borders to make them more “effective” against irregular migration, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote in a letter to member states on Tuesday (20 March), seen by EURACTIV.


Meanwhile, the solidarity mechanism to relocate asylum seekers outlined in the document remains a voluntary one, where member states can decide to become “contributing member states” coordinated at EU level.

According to the document, asylum seekers that can be relocated have to be during a process of application for international protection or be a recent beneficiary of protection.

The so-called “benefitting member state” which is the one subjected to more arrivals than others, can identify “persons who could be relocated […] in close cooperation [with] the EU Relocation Coordinator and the contributing Member State and the Asylum Agency,” the text explained.

According to the draft position of MEPs, the relocation mechanism would “mandatory” among the “contributing member states” only when “a Member State is in a situation of crisis” and therefore, both applicants and recent beneficiaries of international protection can be relocated.

The document also defines a “situation of crisis” as being “an exceptional situation” where arrivals reach a certain “scale” or “impact” that leaves the member state’s capacities “non-functional”.

According to the text, the European Commission would be responsible to assess whether a situation in a member state can be defined at a crisis level.

EU lawmakers promised to conclude the Pact on Migration and Asylum by February 2024 as part of a ‘joint roadmap’ on migration agreed last September. EU interior ministers have indicated that they will finalise their own negotiating position in the coming weeks.

Migration reform to be approved by 2024, say parliament leaders and diplomats

The European Parliament together with the permanent representatives of Czechia, Sweden, Spain, Belgium and France agreed to approve the Pact on Migration and Asylum by February 2024, to ensure that the legislation is adopted before the next European elections in May 2024.