ECRE released a statement at the conclusion of this week’s EU Ministerial Conference on Quality and Efficiency in the Asylum Process:
“… Since its peak in the early 1990s, the number of asylum applications lodged within the European Union has experienced a sharp decline, despite the increase in some individual Member States. However, a difficult political and economic environment in Europe is fuelling little appetite for welcoming foreigners, which is translated into a slow progress at the table of negotiations to build a Common European Asylum System.
ECRE believes that initiatives to increase practical cooperation, such as this conference and the establishment of a European Asylum Support Office, which will soon be up and running in Malta, will help to make the asylum system fairer and more efficient. For instance, yesterday’s discussions have provided examples of how to improve the treatment of children or traumatised asylum seekers. Also, pooling resources with regard to information about the home countries of asylum seekers, interpretation services and training can contribute to better decisions.
Bjarte Vandvik, ECRE’s Secretary General, said: ‘The current EU asylum system is failing both Member States and people who arrive to Europe fleeing war or persecution. Practical cooperation is part of the solution but will not be enough. European Member States also need to resolve the impasse in the negotiations and work together to agree on fairer common asylum rules’.
Asylum seekers still have hugely different chances of being granted international protection depending on the EU country that will examine their application. For instance, in 2009, virtually no Iraqis were recognised as refugees in Greece, while in Germany, 77% of Iraqi asylum seekers were granted international protection and could rebuild their lives. A harmonised asylum system with higher standards of protection would not be only fairer; it would also be more efficient and less costly in the longer term.”
Click here for information on the Conference organised by the Belgian Presidency.
Click here for Commissioner Cecilia Malmström’s statement at the conference.