Brussels tells 19 states to enforce asylum rules, Malta on infringement notice

Brussels: ‘More responsibility in managing the refugee crisis’ • Commission adopts 40 infringement decisions ‘to make European asylum system work’.

European vice-president Frans Timmermans
European vice-president Frans Timmermans

The European Commission has adopted 40 infringement decisions against several member states for failing to fully implement legislation making up the Common European Asylum System.

Malta has been notified that it not yet transposed two directives of 2013 – the Asylum Procedures and Reception Conditions directives.

The European Commission said it is stepping up its efforts to ensure the full application of EU law in the area of migration and asylum. The Asylum Procedures Directive deals with fairer, quicker and better quality asylum decisions while the Reception Conditions Directive ensures that there are humane physical reception conditions for asylum seekers across the EU.

“Solidarity and responsibility are two sides of the same coin,” European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “EU leaders in an extraordinary European Council in April called for the rapid and full transposition and effective implementation of the Common European Asylum System to ensure common European standards under existing legislation. Today’s 40 infringement proceedings are meant to ensure that member states implement and apply what they had previously agreed to do.”

Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said in Europe everyone must uphold the commonly agreed standards, in the way we receive asylum seekers. “These standards need to be fully implemented and respected, while always respecting the dignity and human rights of the applicants."

The Commission is sending reasoned opinions to Bulgaria and Spain for having failed to communicate national measures to transpose the updated Qualifications Directive, which harmonises minimum standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection.

The Commission is also sending a second supplementary Letter of Formal Notice to Greece for violation of certain provisions of the updated Reception Conditions Directive and the updated Asylum Procedures Directive. It concerns serious deficiencies in the Greek asylum system, notably with regard to the material reception conditions to applicants for international protection, particularly those with special reception needs and vulnerable persons.

Letters of Formal Notice are the first formal step of an infringement procedure. After receiving a letter of formal notice, member states have two months to reply to the letter; in the absence of satisfactory replies the EC can a reasoned opinion, before proposing to the EU Court of Justice to impose financial sanctions under Article 260.

Five different pieces of legislation form the core of the Common European Asylum System (the Dublin Regulation, the recast Asylum Procedures Directive, the recast Qualification Directive, the recast Reception Conditions Directive and the EURODAC rules on fingerprinting).