During their meeting in Luxembourg, the interior ministers of the EU member states agreed on a joint position regarding the reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS).
This is a significant step towards the EU asylum reform which is to include effective protection of the external European borders with unified standards for registration and jurisdiction, as well as a feasible solidarity mechanism.
The Federal Government has been emphatically advocating for a fundamental reform of the Common European Asylum System. “Mastering the challenges related to forced migration is only possible as a joint effort in the European Union,” said Federal Chancellor Scholz.
Mandatory asylum proceedings at the external EU border
The Asylum Procedures Directive provides for a joint approach for the entire EU. The member states must follow its rules when people seek international protection. The directive streamlines procedural modalities such as the duration of proceedings and sets out standards concerning the rights of asylum seekers. These include provision of an interpreter as well as the right to legal assistance and representation.
One part of the overall agreement is to introduce mandatory asylum proceedings at the external EU border. It is in the interest of those seeking protection, too, to receive a quick and reliable answer to their request for protection. The Federal Government is committed to ensuring that each asylum request is handled fairly, efficiently and quickly.
Fair and efficient processing of requests
The procedure applies for applicants holding a nationality with an acceptance rate of less than 20 percent, and not to people from countries with high acceptance rates. The total duration of the asylum and return procedures at the border should be no more than twelve weeks.
Unaccompanied minors are exempt from the procedure at the border. Germany called for this arrangement clearly, strongly and successfully, wishing to ensure protection of this highly vulnerable group. It has also been ensured that individual exceptions apply when high humanitarian requirements, of families in particular, cannot be met in the border procedure. In the upcoming negotiations with the European Parliament, the Federal Government will continue to make a clear case for exempting families with children from the border procedure.
A Europe of solidarity
In order to compensate for the current system in which a small number of member states with external borders are responsible for the vast majority of asylum requests, a new solidarity mechanism is suggested, which is simple, predictable and workable.
The new rules provide for a combination of compulsory solidarity and flexibility for the member states in choosing their individual contributions. The member states can take in refugees, make financial contributions or deploy staff for capacity development.
Member states can decide at their own discretion which type of contribution they would like to make. Those who do not accept refugees will have to make compensation payments.
The agreement is a great success
Agreeing on a joint position regarding the reform of the EU asylum system is a huge success. A wide range of views across the EU have been brought together, following several years in which the member states failed to come to an agreement. This is a true breakthrough, for which everybody had to compromise, including Germany.
With this agreement, Europe demonstrates its ability to act and its determination to make joint progress, also with regard to difficult issues.
Information about the Federal Government’s migration policy is available on our FAQ page.