Asylum procedures should be harmonised and improved

Morten Kjaerum at the FRA Press breakfast on 13 September 2010
Morten Kjaerum at the FRA Press breakfast on 13 September 2010
13/09/2010
Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA): asylum procedures should be harmonised and improved - EU Ministerial Conference on Asylum on 13-14 September, Brussels Substantial differences exist between the asylum procedures in the 27 EU Member States, creating an uneven playing field. For the first time, EU research provides evidence about asylum-seekers' own experiences across the EU. The findings of the research will inform discussions at the ministerial conference on asylum.

FRA Director Morten Kjaerum: "There is a need to improve and further harmonise the asylum procedures in the EU. A fair asylum procedure is one where applicants know their rights and duties. This is often not the case across the EU. The Fundamental Rights Agency's research findings underpin the need for the European Commission's proposals to amend and improve existing EU legislation relating to asylum procedures. Better implementation of existing legislation is also imperative."

In order to ensure fair and effective asylum procedures throughout the EU:

  • asylum decisions should be provided in a language that the asylum seeker understands, ideally both in writing and orally
  • information about how to appeal should be accompanied by information about accessing legal assistance
  • free legal assistance should be made available
  • time limits for submitting an appeal should be reasonable, and procedures for lodging an appeal should be as simple as possible
  • the asylum seeker should be involved in the appeals procedure, and should be heard where the facts of the case are disputed.

The Fundamental Rights Agency interviewed almost 900 asylum seekers in all 27 EU Member States about their experiences of the asylum procedure.

The Fundamental Rights Agency has today published two reports relating to asylum procedures in the EU Member States:

Country Reports

The reports, as well as background information on asylum statistics and legal issues for each Member State, are available at http://www.fra.europa.eu/

For further information please contact the FRA media team:
E-mail: media@fra.europa.eu
Tel.: +43 1 58 030 - 642

Notes to editors:

  • The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is mandated to provide evidence-based advice to decision-makers in the EU. The Agency's evidence aims at informing EU and national policy-makers and contextualising debates on fundamental rights in the European Union.
  • Since the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam in May 1999, important steps have been made towards the creation of a Common European Asylum System. Five pieces of EU legislation were adopted between 1999 and 2005. To further a higher degree of harmonisation and better standards of international protection across the Union, the European Commission has presented proposals to amend four of the existing five pieces of EU legislation relating to asylum. See here
  • The 2005 Asylum Procedures Directive lays down minimum standards for asylum procedures in the European Union. It provides for a duty to issue decisions in writing (Article 9), to inform applicants about the asylum decision, and on how to appeal (Article 10), it regulates legal assistance (Article 15) and sets minimum standards relating to effective remedies (Article 39).
  • Related reports by the Fundamental Rights Agency:
    "Separated asylum-seeking children in European Union Member States" - Summary Report" (30/04/2010) - full report will be released in December 2010
    "Detention of third-country nationals in return procedures" - will be launched later in September 2010

Figure: Number of foreign languages into which leaflets about the asylum procedures have been translated, by country

Figure: Number of foreign languages into which leaflets about the asylum procedures have been translated by country

Note: Please note that the information has been updated since September 2010.