Wednesday, April 06, 2016

STATEMENT: EU Commission reforms of common asylum policy UPDATE

Statement by Professor Thom Brooks, Professor of Law and Government at Durham University's Law School:

·         The EU Commission is clear: the current system “was not designed to ensure a sustainable sharing of responsibility of asylum applications”. In other words, the Dublin Regulation must be reformed to deal with the continuing migrant crisis.

·         The EU Commission problems exist with how the Regulation has been implemented in general – noting “serious shortcomings” – and that more must be done in working with third countries. But even a more strictly applied Dublin Regulation would be unsustainable in the long term too “in the face of continuing migratory pressure”.

·         In response, the EU Commission has five priorities so the system can be “structurally improved”, such as making the system more sustainable and fair, and by “strengthening and harmonising further” current rules.

·         This will involve – and I quote – “a new Regulation” to “reform” the current system “as a matter of priority”.

·         And none of this will happen until AFTER the EU Referendum vote in the UK.

UPDATE: This can have profound implications. If the EU ends the current asylum policy (Dublin Regulation) in favour of a new Regulation, the UK will have to make a choice whether to be in or out. There would be no option to keep the current deal which the government favours. Any new deal would not be as preferable, but opting out might be even less so. Either way, much that the government will protest - but first it must win the vote to stay in before making the case against this reform that now looks inevitable with only the details of its implementation to follow (and on a strict timetable for this summer - this is going to move quickly).

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