1. The Council of Europe
2. The European Union
The EU comprises 28 Member States. It was established through three treaties signed by six European states in the 1950s, the most important in its early years being the EEC Treaty of 1957. The initial instruments were elaborated and updated by successive treaties over the following decade, with the Treaty on the Europen Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) defining the EU primary legal framework today. The EEC Treaty’s original objectives were to achieve economic integration in the region. Three main transformations have subsequently taken place, which have significantly impacted upon the asylum field. These have resulted, firstly, from the continued enlargement of the group of states participating to 28 at present; secondly, through the consolidation of EU law in this area, which now takes priority over the national law of the Member States; and thirdly, the widening of the Union’s responsibilities with the addition of justice and home affairs, including asylum and migration, as a Union or Community competence, in 1999. From that date the EU has been a central actor in determining the law of international protection in the Member States. The EU’s structure incorporates several key institutions including the European Parliament, the European Council and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), as well as independent agencies whose work is relevant to asylum, including the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) and the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex).
In addition, EU asylum law and practice has great potential to influence significantly the development of the international protection system more broadly. This is in part because many countries look to the EU as a leading standard-setter in legal and normative terms. In addition, however, given that State practice is a source of international law, harmonized practice (if and when it is achieved) in all EU Member States will be extremely important in contributing to the evolution of international refugee law worldwide.
Has the first phase of harmonisation of EC asylum law brought about consistency of decision-making and harmonisation in practice? If not, what further steps are required to achieve these aims?
What do the extensive exceptions and qualiﬁcations to protection criteria and procedural safeguards in EU instruments mean for access to a fair and effective refugee status determination process?
Is detention of asylum seekers consistent with EU Member States’ international refugee and human rights obligations?
The use of detention as a deterrent or punishment, in addition to containment
Different legal standards governing
detention of asylum-seekers
detention of people with no right to remain, pending removal and
criminal detention, including for irregular entry.
2. Return policies
Is there adequate protection for rejected asylum-seekers in order to ensure that return policies do not infringe the non-refoulement principle?
Use of protection mechanisms to delay expulsion or removal.
3. Readmission agreements
Are the ‘safeguard’ provisions in readmission agreements sufficient?
Objectives of readmission agreements:
EU seeking to use readmission agreements to guarantee removal of irregular migrants, including those who have merely transited through other contracting party
Rules on proof and presumptive evidence for nationality and transit route
Safe guard clauses