Evidencing further mismanagement of the ongoing migrant crisis, the European Commission is investigating 19 countries for asylum violations.
The investigation into 40 asylum violations was announced the same day that European Union (EU) leaders came together for an emergency summit about the European migrant crisis. With member states focusing on the distribution of 120,000 refugees, the European Commission (the Commission) is to look into how 19 countries – including Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden – operate in relation to asylum.
Being exempt from the Common European Asylum System, Britain, Denmark and Ireland are not subject to Commission scrutiny in the same way.
The Commission alleges that member states infringe laws regarding the recognition of refugees, minimum standards for asylum procedures and conditions for receiving refugees, reports The Local.
Allegedly inadequate enforcement of the EU Reception Conditions Directive by Austria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Poland, among others, is one example of what is being investigated. The directive establishes common living condition standards for asylum applicants in EU countries, and also ensures access to employment, housing, food, medical and psychological care.
Countries being investigated first receive formal notice letters from the Commission, to which they have two months to respond. If they fail properly to implement EU laws thereafter, they will then face further infringement proceedings and ultimately actions in the European Court resulting in possible financial sanctions.
The Commission said:
“The pieces of legislation concerned focus on fairer, quicker and better quality asylum decisions (the Asylum Procedures Directive); ensuring that there are humane physical reception conditions (such as housing) for asylum seekers across the EU (the Reception Conditions Directive); and clarifying the grounds for granting international protection.”
The Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, added:
“In Europe everyone must uphold the commonly agreed standards, in the way we receive asylum seekers. All participating Member States, must process their asylum applications according to the common criteria and standards, which are used by national authorities to determine whether someone is entitled to international protection.
“These standards need to be fully implemented and respected, while always respecting the dignity and human rights of the applicants.”
European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said:
“Solidarity and responsibility are two sides of the same coin.
“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. The European Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and today’s 40 infringement proceedings are meant to ensure that Member States actually implement and apply what they had previously agreed to do – and agreed to do rapidly and fully.
“Our Common European Asylum System can only function if everyone plays by the rules.”