Common European asylum system reform: Council ready to start negotiations on qualification and protection standards
Veronica Huertas Cerdeira
Press officer (Home affairs; Counter-terrorism coordination)
On 19 July 2017, the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) endorsed, on behalf of the Council, a mandate for negotiations on a regulation regarding the qualification standards, status and protection granted to refugees and persons eligible for subsidiary protection. On the basis of this mandate, the presidency will start negotiations with the European Parliament as soon as possible.
"The reform of the common European asylum system is a fundamental part of our comprehensive migration policy and therefore of utmost importance for Europe. Besides achieving equal rights and obligations for asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection across Europe, this will also reduce secondary movements and help those genuinely in need of protection. The actual amount of social payments will still be in the hands of each member state”, said Andres Anvelt, minister of interior of Estonia, following today's agreement on qualification and protection standards. “I also want to pay tribute to the Maltese presidency for their huge work on this file”, added Minister Anvelt.
EU ambassadors endorsed the text of the mandate on the understanding that the parts relating to other files of the common European asylum system (CEAS) reform will be revisited once there is agreement on those proposals.
The main objectives of this draft regulation are:
- ensuring that member states will apply common criteria for the identification of persons genuinely in need of international protection
- ensuring the same common set of rights is available for those persons in all member states
Once the regulation is adopted, all applicants should be equally treated in all EU member states, therefore helping avoid secondary movements.
The draft regulation defines the standards for qualification both for refugee status and for subsidiary protection. It also lays down the elements to be taken into account in the assessment of an application.
The draft regulation details the protection granted to beneficiaries, including the duration of the permits and their rights in relation to access to employment, education, social security, healthcare, accommodation and integration measures. It limits the right to reside of beneficiaries of international protection to the member state which granted them the protection.
The draft regulation also includes specific elements to take account of the situation of minors, in particular unaccompanied minors.
Following its Communication of 6 April 2016 on the reform of the common European asylum system, the Commission presented in May and in July seven legislative proposals, including the above-mentioned proposal, with a view to:
- improving the functioning of CEAS by eliminating differing treatment of asylum seekers and varying recognition rates among member states;
- reducing secondary movements and contributing to a fairer distribution among the member states of the responsibility to offer protection to those in need.