Asylum system reform: A decision has finally been taken on stricter EU asylum rules after years of disagreement

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Written By Maya Cantina

The Reform of the EU asylum system After almost ten years of debate, a decision has finally been made. The EU states agreed in Brussels to the plans, which include rapid asylum procedures at the external borders, as announced by the Council of the European Union. The EU wants to use the reform to better control migration to Europe. This is intended to ease the burden on key arrival countries such as Italy and Greece.

In the future, migrants who have little chance of being accepted will not be able to continue their journey through asylum procedures at the EU’s external borders and may be deported directly from border camps. Reception takes place under prison-like conditions for a maximum of three months, but in the event of a crisis this period can be extended. Families with children must also go through these procedures. The federal government had campaigned unsuccessfully for an exception for them.

After New regulations In the event of a negative asylum decision, Member States can also send migrants back to safe third countries such as Tunisia or Albania, where they must then apply for asylum. However, refugees must have a link with the third country to which they are deported – for example through family members or studies.

Two years for implementation

Human rights organizations criticize this Asylum reform for months. It opens the possibility for member states to largely withdraw from refugee protection by classifying neighboring countries or other states along the escape routes as ‘safe’, Pro Asyl said. This will lead to people who have fled to Europe “being deported to these countries without investigating their real reasons for fleeing.”

The new asylum rules will come into force after publication in the Official Journal of the EU. Member States then have two years to implement it nationally. According to EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, some member states have already more or less started implementing it.

The EU asylum agency registered around 1.1 million applications last year, the highest number since 2016. About 330,000 of them were in Germany.

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