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Brussels, 19 September 2012
Statement by EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström on the LIBE Committee orientation vote on the Dublin Regulation and the Reception Conditions Directive
I welcome the outcome of today's orientation vote of the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament on the Dublin Regulation and the Reception Conditions Directive. I would like to salute the important work done by the two rapporteurs Cecilia Wikström and Antonio Masip Hidalgo.
Asylum seekers are people fleeing persecution, fearing for their security and even for their life in their countries of origin. We have the responsibility to welcome them in a dignified manner. Today's political agreement in the European Parliament is a big step towards a common asylum system, whereby all asylum seekers can get a fair and proper assessment of their case.
As a Union we need to ensure strong safeguards and guarantees for people in need of protection. We need to have clear rules for how we determine which Member State is responsible for an asylum application in order to ensure that individuals have effective access to the asylum procedures. This is a very important principle of our asylum legislation. The quick identification of the responsible Member State avoids asylum seekers being redirected from one state to another. However, it is true that the number of asylum seekers can vary considerably depending on the Member State in question. The new text contains an early warning and preparedness mechanism, which is aimed at helping those Member States subject to particular pressure.
We also need to ensure that asylum seekers and people in need of international protection receive the same treatment throughout the whole Union and that we have common rules on reception conditions. The agreed amendments to the existing Receptions Conditions Directive will result in more harmonised and coherent reception systems. They will ensure that the same dignified standards of living are applied throughout the EU, irrespective of where the asylum application was made. We are also reinforcing the procedural guarantees for detention and introducing more safeguards for vulnerable persons, such as unaccompanied minors and persons with special needs.
Establishing a Common European Asylum System has been the goal of the EU for more than ten years. It is crucial that we now reach an agreement on our common rules in order to guarantee access to protection and ensure dignified standards of living for asylum seekers and people in need of international protection. I now hope that the Council of Ministers will confirm this agreement later this year.
Commissioner Malmström has also blogged about the vote in LIBE. Read more: blogs.ec.europa.eu/malmstrom