In order to
avoid multiple asylum application and situation, where one application for
asylum would fall within the jurisdiction of more than one State or none of
them, the EU introduced so called Dublin system1.
Dublin system is a part of EU refugee law, which regulates the responsible
country for assessment of the application for asylum from third country
nationals in the EU2. The Dublin system was initiated by Convention
signed in 1990 in Dublin. The Convention came into force two years later by
signature of twelve State parties. Unlike the Schengen Convention, which aimed
at the establishment of a borderless area, the Dublin Convention only deals
with a specific element of asylum policy. It provides for a responsibility
allocating mechanism for asylum applications, similar to the Schengen asylum
provisions, without touching upon the substantive issues for granting asylum,
which traditionally falls under State sovereignty. The Dublin Convention was an
important step forward to cooperate in the field of asylum, by providing one of
the first attempts in international law to solve the controversial question of
state responsibility by elaborating a cooperative system of interstate action.
Later, the treaty of Amsterdam introduced competence of the
European Community to adopt additional regulations to harmonize asylum policies
of member states. And regarding this, the Dublin system was changed and
Convention was replaced by Dublin II Regulation and then the Dublin III
Regulation. Number of directives on qualification and status of refugees,
asylum procedures and reception conditions for asylum seekers were adopted
along with Dublin Regulation by 20133.
While its legal foundations and geographical scope have changed over time, it
has remained essentially the same, which is subject to criticism from the
beginning. These criticisms will be discussed in further section of the essay.
the Dublin Regulation
The literature on the practical functioning of the Dublin system is
extensive and it is widely accepted that the system does not work as expected
and never has4.
Dublin system is criticized based on three main
criteria: fair distribution, efficiency and compliance with international and
regional human rights standards. There are other criticisms such as financial
burden of the system for Member States.
The Dublin system was originally not intended as a
burden sharing instrument5,
the obligation to establish a system that is more solidary than the current one
can be derived from Article 80 TFEU6,
inserted into the TFEU by the Lisbon Treaty. In this regard, the Regulation is
criticized for transfer of the asylum processing responsibilities from the
northern EU countries to its southern border countries. For example, although registration
in the first country of arrival means that person is unable to seek asylum in
other member states, or, in the case of doing so, running the risk of being
returned, in 2013, Italy received almost a half of the asylum seekers transferred
from another member state7.
But the essay should recognise that in
2016, the situation in practice changed as according to the statistical update
published by AIDA 8 In relation to actual
transfers, Germany is far ahead of other European countries and has received
more asylum seekers (4,144) than those sent to other countries. This situation
might be temporary as Greece suspended the Dublin transfers due to the crisis
and Germany decided take responsibility for processing of asylum applications
on humanitarian grounds.
1 Steve Peers, EU Justice And Home Affairs
Law (Pearson Education Limited 2000).
The enumeration of the main problems of the system has remained
consistent since the first evaluations. See
European Commission (2000). Staff Working Document: Revisiting the
Dublin Convention, SEC (2000) 522, 21
March 2000, para. 53; European Commission (2001). Staff Working
Document: Evaluation of the Dublin