Updated: Dec 13, 2022
Since 2015 and the refugee crisis in Europe due to various conflicts in the World, the Dublin Regulation does not cease to be contested by a lot of people, including NGOs but also politicians and countries such as Italy, Greece or Malta.
But Dublin Regulation, what is it?
It is an European regulation, signed in 1990 in Dublin, which organizes the distribution of asylum seekers within the EU. Its basis is simple: a person can only seek asylum in one country of the EU.
This country, called Member State Responsible, is in fact the first European country in which the asylum seeker sets foot when he enters the European Union. More precisely, the first country in which his fingerprints have been taken, be it from his free will or in a forced way.
There is an European fingerprinting system, called Eurodac, that allows to quickly identify the Member State responsible for the review of the asylum application due to this fingerprint recognition system.
This regulation also allows to reduce the movements, also called secondary movement, of asylum seekers from one EU country to another.
Which countries apply the Dublin Regulation?
All Member States of the European Union of course, as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
So concretely what can be the effect on the asylum seeker?
Let us imagine a Somalian citizen who wants to seek asylum in France. But he arrives with a boat into EU soil through Italy. In this country, his fingerprints are taken, but he manages to make his way to France, where he seeks asylum. His fingerprints are taken again, but being already registered on the Eurodac database, France will send him back to Italy. So, he will have to seek asylum in Italy.
So why Dublin Regulation is questioned by many people?
Because this regulation is described as unfair in many aspects.
Firstly this regulation is qualified as unfair from a human point of view. This regulation is contrary to the will of asylum seekers. People don't have the choice of the country in which to seek asylum. Oftentimes, the migrants do not wish to remain in the first country in which they arrived. For example, someone who has a family member on another european country, would want to join him. So this regulation is contrary to the wishes of asylum seekers.
Moreover, currently it doesn't exist a uniformed european asylum procedure. The conditions of reception and asylum are different. So systems are different depending on the country and the protections provided are also different. As an example, an Afghan has 84% chance of obtaining asylum in France, 47% in Germany, and 1% in Bulgaria. So if is forced to seek asylum in Bulgaria he will have less luck to get it than in Germany or France (reference: https://www.migrationpolicy.org/).
However, from an European point of view, this regulation is inequitable among the various countries of the EU. The migrants arriving almost always from southern countries (Italy, Spain, Greece, Malta...), these countries must manage alone the large majority of asylum seekers. As a result, they are no longer able to deal with this large number of requests. So they can no longer welcome migrants with dignity.
That is why it is important to find a solution in the interest of all.