Common EU asylum system rejected by Cameron

Kettlemag Kirstie Keate common EU asylum system rejected by Cameron
Written by kirstiekeate

Prime Minister David Cameron has said that the UK would not join an EU common asylum system as the EU begins a crucial summit on the refugee crisis.

On arrival at the summit he said, “We have an absolutely rock-solid opt-out from these things. There’s no prospect of Britain joining a common asylum process in Europe. We’ll have our own asylum approach, our own way of doing things, keeping our borders”

He continued by saying the UK has the best of both worlds by maintaining its own borders.

In response to the Brexit campaigns claims the immigration could be better controlled outside of the EU, he added that even if the UK were not in the EU, it would still be affected by the migrant crisis.

Under the current EU asylum system, referred to as the Dublin rules, each EU country must register and process asylum claims based on the first state the refugee enters. At present, those seeking refugee status are predominantly arriving in Mediterranean countries like Greece and Italy first, meaning these countries have been responsible for handling a disproportionate number of claims, placing an additional burden on their already struggling economies.

Turkey, who is also represented at the summit, is currently dealing with the worst refugee crisis since WW2. The EU is offering Turkey $3.3bn in aid in the hope they can convince it to take back the migrants who do not qualify for asylum.

Reforms to the Dublin rules could see the EU centrally overseeing asylum applications, although there are concerns changes could deprive the UK of the ability to deport asylum seekers back to the original country they entered the EU through.


Key facts

  • An asylum seeker is defined as someone who has fled their country because of armed conflict or fear of persecution on grounds such as sexuality, religion etc and is looking for protection under the 1951 Refugee Convention.

  • A refugee is someone whose application for asylum has been successful.

  • A migrant is someone looking to emigrate to another country for a better quality of life or job prospects. Rules on this type of migration are often very strict.

  • The Dublin Rules mean an asylum seeker has to apply for asylum in the first EU country they enter. If they cross borders to another country after being fingerprinted, they can be returned to there initial country of arrival. In 2015, Hungary became overburdened by asylum applications to the point that it stopped taking back its applicants who had later crossed the borders to other EU countries.

  • Last year more than a million people illegally entered the EU by boat, the majority from Syria. Others came mainly from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kosova. It’s estimated more than 3,700 have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean. In proportion to it’s population, Hungary has had the most applications for asylum at 1,799 per 100,000 local population, followed by Sweden at 1,667 and Austria at 1,027. Germany, has had the most applications, but this only accounts for 587 per 100,000 local population. The UK has had 60.