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Council Presidency treads a tricky path in trying to get Member State "solidarity" on refugees
12.3.17
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The last Council Presidency (Slovakia) sought to resolve the issues of "solidarity" in responding to the refugee crisis with the majority of Member States failing to respond to calls for relocation and set the results out in a report to Delegations: Solidarity and responsibility in the Common European Asylum System - Progress report by the Slovak Presidency (LIMITE doc no, 15253-16, pdf). In the public version of this document pages 3-5 are deleted).

The Presidency lays out the dilemma:

"there is broad consensus that the current Dublin system is not ready to face substantial migratory pressures and that this has to be remedied. There is also broad consensus that the current Dublin system needs to be upgraded so that it can operate more efficiently in ordinary circumstances."

And then states the obvious that since 2015 many Member States have failed to "participate":

"the Union needs to act collectively, making full use of all possible means of action and ensuring the participation of all Member States."

A list of measures is set out starting with the "rapid deployment of the European Border and Coast Guard agency and the "full roll-out of hotspots' operations" and also:

"reinforced means of ensuring efficient processing of asylum applications (reinforced joint
processing) and joint return operations"

In a circular argument it points out:

"It is the Presidency's understanding that it would be counter-productive to consider it to be a list of possible measures which Member States can opt in or out of. The notion of fairness has repeatedly been referred to during the consultations, with the implication that all Member States should take part in these measures, albeit to a varying degree.

On the basis of these consultations, the Presidency doubts whether a productive result can be achieved by attempting to establish, in a fair manner, quantitative equivalence between the various strands of action that are necessary to face a crisis."

The Presidency concludes by posing three questions:

" Should the solidarity mechanism be an integral part of the Dublin Regulation or a separate instrument?

Should we consider relocation for persons unlikely to be given international protection?

Which additional measures would be needed to prevent and reduce secondary movements (such as detention, where necessary and proportionate)?"

Member states are very unlikely to agree the second while keen on the third. "Solidarity" seems a distant hope.


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