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Summing-up by the Chair

8 December 2010


Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population


Right of asylum in Europe:

The “Dublin Regulation” – an unfair system

both for asylum seekers and for states

Paris, 8 December 2010



The Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population, meeting on 8 December 2010 in Paris, considered the Dublin system which currently determines the responsibility in respect of asylum of European states party to the regulations.


While seeking an effective, co-ordinated system, Europe has a system which seems unfair, expensive, and ineffective, and whose application sometimes infringes the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.


It seems unfair both on asylum seekers and Member States. It places an excessive burden on the countries at the external borders of the European Union, such as Greece, Malta, Italy, Spain and Cyprus. The goal of a fairer division of responsibilities among the European states is far from being achieved.


In the current economic crisis, the states least able of providing an equitable, effective system for determining asylum claims are the very ones that have to process the most. Given the weaknesses of the asylum system clearly documented in particular by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (HCR) and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, the committee has reservations about what is happening in Greece.


It seems expensive to such a degree that even the European Commission admits its own inability to assess the cost accurately and Greece is seeking resources to meet its obligations.


It seems ineffective in so far as the figures prove that the Dublin system has not had the expected deterrent effect on the phenomenon of “asylum shopping”.


The Committee, deeply disturbed by these grave malfunctions, therefore calls upon the states parties to the Dublin system:


- to ensure that the administrative detention of the asylum seekers sent back under the Dublin system only takes place in exceptional circumstances prescribed by international standards and in keeping with the principles of expediency and proportionality;


- to consider availing themselves of the sovereignty clause embodied in the Dublin system to avoid any transfer to an inoperative asylum system;


- to support the reform of the asylum procedure envisaged in Greece, encourage the authorities to implement it forthwith, as well as provide the necessary expertise to Greece to ensure that it can determine in reasonable time applications for asylum and reduce the need for detention;


- not to loose sight of the underlying causes of asylum and irregular migration, and to give support to countries of origin to tackle these causes.


Pending the preparation of a report on this subject but on the basis of its discussions, the Committee considers that the existing regulations under the Dublin system are ineffective and unfair, and already calls on the Council of the European Union to revise the Dublin system so as to establish a more effective system in full accordance with the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and ensure a fairer apportionment of the responsibilities for asylum in Europe.


Reference document: Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1695 (2009) on the quality and consistency of asylum decisions in the Council of Europe member states.