Relocation of internationally-protected persons within the EU should take account of their best interests and the need for solidarity between member states, says a resolution adopted by Parliament on Tuesday. MEPs also call for more money for asylum policy, joint processing of asylum applications and a stronger role for the Malta-based European Asylum Support Office (EASO), to promote closer cooperation among EU countries.
Parliament called on the European Commission to include an "EU distribution key" for relocating beneficiaries of international protection in its future legislative proposal for a permanent intra-EU relocation mechanism. The system would take account of beneficiaries' best interests and integration prospects and objective indicators for member states, such as GDP, population and surface area.
A "distribution key" could help EU countries facing disproportionate pressures on their national asylum systems or in emergency situations, say MEPs, who also call on the Commission to study the feasibility of introducing a system for also relocating asylum seekers.
""In this text we have spelled out what solidarity means in practice: burden sharing between the different Member States. Now we look to the Commission to pass on to us the relevant legislative proposals so that we can continue the work we committed to undertake since 1999", explained rapporteur Kyriacos Triantaphyllides (GUE/NGL, CY) in a debate on Monday evening. His resolution was adopted with 584 in favour, 41 against and 54 abstentions.
Joint processing system
Processing asylum applications jointly would enable member states to support each other at various stages of the asylum application processing procedure, such as identifying applicants, preparing first-instance decisions, conducting interviews or making recommendations. Parliament welcomes the study launched by the Commission to investigate the legal and practical implications of a joint processing system in the EU.
MEPs want to allocate "sufficient resources" to the Asylum and Migration Fund, which should be "flexible and easy to mobilise" so as to respond to unforeseen pressures or emergencies. They also call for the creation of a "well-resourced mechanism" to compensate member states receiving higher numbers of asylum seekers and welcome the possibility of increasing Commission contributions to asylum projects.
Stronger role for the EASO
The Malta-based EASO has "the potential to promote closer cooperation" among EU member states and to "help reduce the significant divergences in asylum practices", MEPs say. The resolution notes the agency's role "in coordinating and supporting common action" to assist countries which are subject to particular pressures. However, MEPs stress that "the impact of the EASO will depend on the willingness of member states to make full use" of its potential.