EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

The EU asylum system

Posted by Info on 06/09/2014

Since 2003, European countries – the 28 EU Member States and Schengen zone countries including Switzerland, Norway and Iceland – have implemented a harmonised asylum policy that was called the Dublin Regulation. Under this legislation, asylum seekers must apply for asylum in the first country that collects their fingerprints and if found in another state, they face expulsion back to their point of entry.

When this regime was created, one of the aims was to prevent so-called asylum shopping, when one person applies in more than one country or only applies to countries with stronger welfare benefits for refugees. Since 2013, fingerprints of all applicants have been collected and stored in a common database calledEURODAC. This has led migrants to burn their fingertips once they have been fingerprinted in Italy or Greece in order to apply in countries like Sweden or the UK.

This system has placed an unfair burden on the southern and eastern European nations, such as Greece, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and even Turkey. Prior to the Dublin Regulation, many of these states were known as transit countries through which migrants passed on their way to the North.

Roughly two-thirds of applications for protection status are refused. Ironically, many of the wealthier countries that accept the highest number of applicants are beyond the buffer zone. For example, five countries (Sweden, Germany, France, Italy and the UK) welcome 70 percent of asylum seekers, while Sweden, Switzerland and Austria grant the most protection status per population.

 

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