EU asylum reforms aim to create sustainable migration
The EU’s current method of taking in refugees is unsustainable, a senior official said Wednesday as he outlined proposals to reform the bloc’s migration policy.

"Let there be no doubt - those who need protection must continue to receive it and they should not have to put their lives in the hands of people smugglers,” Frans Timmermans, the EU Commission’s vice president, said.

"But the current system is not sustainable.”

The current system, known at the Dublin regulations, requires asylum seekers to claim asylum in the first EU nation they arrive and allows for them to be returned to that country from elsewhere in the EU.

However, that has placed undue strain on "frontline” states such as Greece and Italy. The system collapsed last year as more than 1 million refugees passed through Greece and Germany abandoned the scheme, throwing open its frontiers.

This led several countries on the Balkans route to Germany to impose border restrictions in contravention of the EU principle of free movement.

In a statement, Timmermans put forward two proposals - amending the need for migrants to claim asylum in the first country they reach with a quota system when frontline states face a crisis or a permanent program to distribute refugees more evenly across Europe.

"Different national approaches have fuelled asylum shopping and irregular migration, while we have seen in the ongoing crisis that the Dublin rules have placed too much responsibility on just a few member states,” he said.

"We need a sustainable system for the future, based on common rules, a fairer sharing of responsibility and safe legal channels for those who need protection to get it in the EU.”

The proposals came two days after a refugee deal between Turkey and the 28-nation bloc went into effect. The agreement returns failed asylum seekers to Turkey in exchange for resettling Syrian refugees hosted by Turkey within the EU.

Last Modified: 2016-04-07 08:54:30
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