On the occasion of the World Refugee Day, celebrated on the 21st June every year since 2001, it is essential to learn more about the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). Over the past few decades, the critical situation in the Mediterranean has led most Member States to take action in the fields of migration and asylum.
According to article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), any man, woman or child has the right to seek asylum from persecution in other countries. Furthermore, any person searching for international protection on grounds of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion must be recognised as a refugee (1951 Refugee Convention). Asylum flows across the European Union have increased dramatically over the past few years. For instance, 638 thousand asylum seekers applied for international protection within the Member States of the EU in 2018. The problem arises when it comes to revising each asylum application in all these countries.
Thus, in order to harmonise the rules in matters of asylum across the Union, the European Council decided in 1999, through the Tampere Conclusions, to establish a Common European Asylum System (CEAS). To this day, the 28 member states continue to work on improving the current legislative framework related to asylum and international protection. In 2016, the European Commission launched a process of reformation of the CEAS in order to improve some of the previous rules such as the amendments of the Dublin Regulation or the Eurodac Regulation.
This legislative package ensures asylum seekers an equal and fair treatment wherever they apply. In fact, migration and asylum policies have been a priority in the last European elections. Moreover, the advancing climate change has forced a number of populations to leave their home due to its adverse effects.
Despite the fact that the CEAS has paved the way for a uniform status of asylum throughout the EU, there is much to do in order to come across a unified legislation in order to combat the current refugee crisis amongst the 28 member states of the European Union.
Council of the European Union. Presidency Conclusions, Tampere European Council, 16 October 1999. Retrieved from: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/ec/00200-r1.en9.htm [Accessed June 5, 2019]
European Asylum Support Office (EASO). An Introduction to the Common European Asylum System for Courts and Tribunals: A Judicial Analysis. August 2016. Retrieved from: https://www.easo.europa.eu/sites/default/files/public/BZ0216138ENN.PDF [Accessed June 6, 2019]
European Parliament. The concept of “climate refugee”: Towards a possible definition, 2019. Retrieved from: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2018/621893/EPRS_BRI(2018)621893_EN.pdf [Accessed June 6, 2019]
European Parliament News. Improving the Common European Asylum System, 30 June 2017. Retrieved from: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20170627STO78418/improving-the-common-european-asylum-systemSources [Accessed June 5, 2019]
Eurostat. Asylum applications (non-EU) in the EU-27 member states, 2008–2018. 10 May 2019. Retrieved from: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Asylum_statistics#Number_of_asylum_applicants:_drop_in_2018 [Accessed June 6, 2019]
IATE (n.d.). Retrieved June 5, 2019 from: https://iate.europa.eu/search/standard/result/1559748587942/1.
UN General Assembly, Article 14, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948. Retrieved from: https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/ [Accessed June 3, 2019]
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Article 1. The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. Retrieved from: https://www.unhcr.org/protect/PROTECTION/3b66c2aa10.pdf [Accessed June 5, 2019]
Written by Icíar Sastre Domínguez, a Trainee in the Spanish Translation Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg) and a student of the Double Master’s Programme in Applied French Language (Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Sorbonne Université). She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Salamanca.