REGULATION (EU) No 604/2013 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
of 26 June 2013
establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (recast)
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
- Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 78(2)(e) thereof,
- Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,
- Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(1),
- Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(2),
- Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(3),
- A number of substantive changes are to be made to Council Regulation (EC) No 343/2003 of 18 February 2003 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national(4). In the interests of clarity, that Regulation should be recast.
- A common policy on asylum, including a Common European Asylum System (CEAS), is a constituent part of the European Union’s objective of progressively establishing an area of freedom, security and justice open to those who, forced by circumstances, legitimately seek protection in the Union.
- The European Council, at its special meeting in Tampere on 15 and 16 October 1999, agreed to work towards establishing the CEAS, based on the full and inclusive application of the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951, as supplemented by the New York Protocol of 31 January 1967 (the Geneva Convention), thus ensuring that nobody is sent back to persecution, i.e. maintaining the principle of non-refoulement. In this respect, and without the responsibility criteria laid down in this Regulation being affected, Member States, all respecting the principle of non-refoulement, are considered as safe countries for third-country nationals.
- The Tampere conclusions also stated that the CEAS should include, in the short-term, a clear and workable method for determining the Member State responsible for the examination of an asylum application.
- Such a method should be based on objective, fair criteria both for the Member States and for the persons concerned. It should, in particular, make it possible to determine rapidly the Member State responsible, so as to guarantee effective access to the procedures for granting international protection and not to compromise the objective of the rapid processing of applications for international protection.
- The first phase in the creation of a CEAS that should lead, in the longer term, to a common procedure and a uniform status, valid throughout the Union, for those granted international protection, has now been completed. The European Council of 4 November 2004 adopted The Hague Programme which set the objectives to be implemented in the area of freedom, security and justice in the period 2005-2010. In this respect, The Hague Programme invited the European Commission to conclude the evaluation of the first-phase legal instruments and to submit the second-phase instruments and measures to the European Parliament and to the Council with a view to their adoption before 2010.
- In the Stockholm Programme, the European Council reiterated its commitment to the objective of establishing a common area of protection and solidarity in accordance with Article 78 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), for those granted international protection, by 2012 at the latest. Furthermore it emphasised that the Dublin system remains a cornerstone in building the CEAS, as it clearly allocates responsibility among Member States for the examination of applications for international protection.
- The resources of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), established by Regulation (EU) No 439/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council(5), should be available to provide adequate support to the relevant services of the Member States responsible for implementing this Regulation. In particular, EASO should provide solidarity measures, such as the Asylum Intervention Pool with asylum support teams, to assist those Member States which are faced with particular pressure and where applicants for international protection (applicants) cannot benefit from adequate standards, in particular as regards reception and protection.
- In the light of the results of the evaluations undertaken of the implementation of the first-phase instruments, it is appropriate, at this stage, to confirm the principles underlying Regulation (EC) No 343/2003, while making the necessary improvements, in the light of experience, to the effectiveness of the Dublin system and the protection granted to applicants under that system. Given that a well-functioning Dublin system is essential for the CEAS, its principles and functioning should be reviewed as other components of the CEAS and Union solidarity tools are built up. A comprehensive fitness check should be foreseen by conducting an evidence-based review covering the legal, economic and social effects of the Dublin system, including its effects on fundamental rights.
- In order to ensure equal treatment for all applicants and beneficiaries of international protection, and consistency with the current Union asylum acquis, in particular with Directive 2011/95/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection, and for the content of the protection granted(6), the scope of this Regulation encompasses applicants for subsidiary protection and persons eligible for subsidiary protection.
- Directive 2013/33/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection(7) should apply to the procedure for the determination of the Member State responsible as regulated under this Regulation, subject to the limitations in the application of that Directive.
- Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection(8) should apply in addition and without prejudice to the provisions concerning the procedural safeguards regulated under this Regulation, subject to the limitations in the application of that Directive.
- In accordance with the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the best interests of the child should be a primary consideration of Member States when applying this Regulation. In assessing the best interests of the child, Member States should, in particular, take due account of the minor’s well-being and social development, safety and security considerations and the views of the minor in accordance with his or her age and maturity, including his or her background. In addition, specific procedural guarantees for unaccompanied minors should be laid down on account of their particular vulnerability.
- In accordance with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, respect for family life should be a primary consideration of Member States when applying this Regulation.
- The processing together of the applications for international protection of the members of one family by a single Member State makes it possible to ensure that the applications are examined thoroughly, the decisions taken in respect of them are consistent and the members of one family are not separated.
- In order to ensure full respect for the principle of family unity and for the best interests of the child, the existence of a relationship of dependency between an applicant and his or her child, sibling or parent on account of the applicant’s pregnancy or maternity, state of health or old age, should become a binding responsibility criterion. When the applicant is an unaccompanied minor, the presence of a family member or relative on the territory of another Member State who can take care of him or her should also become a binding responsibility criterion.
- Any Member State should be able to derogate from the responsibility criteria, in particular on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, in order to bring together family members, relatives or any other family relations and examine an application for international protection lodged with it or with another Member State, even if such examination is not its responsibility under the binding criteria laid down in this Regulation.
- A personal interview with the applicant should be organised in order to facilitate the determination of the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection. As soon as the application for international protection is lodged, the applicant should be informed of the application of this Regulation and of the possibility, during the interview, of providing information regarding the presence of family members, relatives or any other family relations in the Member States, in order to facilitate the procedure for determining the Member State responsible.
- In order to guarantee effective protection of the rights of the persons concerned, legal safeguards and the right to an effective remedy in respect of decisions regarding transfers to the Member State responsible should be established, in accordance, in particular, with Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. In order to ensure that international law is respected, an effective remedy against such decisions should cover both the examination of the application of this Regulation and of the legal and factual situation in the Member State to which the applicant is transferred.
- The detention of applicants should be applied in accordance with the underlying principle that a person should not be held in detention for the sole reason that he or she is seeking international protection. Detention should be for as short a period as possible and subject to the principles of necessity and proportionality. In particular, the detention of applicants must be in accordance with Article 31 of the Geneva Convention. The procedures provided for under this Regulation in respect of a detained person should be applied as a matter of priority, within the shortest possible deadlines. As regards the general guarantees governing detention, as well as detention conditions, where appropriate, Member States should apply the provisions of Directive 2013/33/EU also to persons detained on the basis of this Regulation.
- Deficiencies in, or the collapse of, asylum systems, often aggravated or contributed to by particular pressures on them, can jeopardise the smooth functioning of the system put in place under this Regulation, which could lead to a risk of a violation of the rights of applicants as set out in the Union asylum acquis and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, other international human rights and refugee rights.
- A process for early warning, preparedness and management of asylum crises serving to prevent a deterioration in, or the collapse of, asylum systems, with EASO playing a key role using its powers under Regulation (EU) No 439/2010, should be established in order to ensure robust cooperation within the framework of this Regulation and to develop mutual trust among Member States with respect to asylum policy. Such a process should ensure that the Union is alerted as soon as possible when there is a concern that the smooth functioning of the system set up by this Regulation is being jeopardised as a result of particular pressure on, and/or deficiencies in, the asylum systems of one or more Member States. Such a process would allow the Union to promote preventive measures at an early stage and pay the appropriate political attention to such situations. Solidarity, which is a pivotal element in the CEAS, goes hand in hand with mutual trust. By enhancing such trust, the process for early warning, preparedness and management of asylum crises could improve the steering of concrete measures of genuine and practical solidarity towards Member States, in order to assist the affected Member States in general and the applicants in particular. In accordance with Article 80 TFEU, Union acts should, whenever necessary, contain appropriate measures to give effect to the principle of solidarity, and the process should be accompanied by such measures. The conclusions on a Common Framework for genuine and practical solidarity towards Member States facing particular pressures on their asylum systems, including through mixed migration flows, adopted by the Council on 8 March 2012, provide for a tool box of existing and potential new measures, which should be taken into account in the context of a mechanism for early warning, preparedness and crisis management.
- Member States should collaborate with EASO in the gathering of information concerning their ability to manage particular pressure on their asylum and reception systems, in particular within the framework of the application of this Regulation. EASO should regularly report on the information gathered in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 439/2010.
- In accordance with Commission Regulation (EC) No 1560/2003(9), transfers to the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection may be carried out on a voluntary basis, by supervised departure or under escort. Member States should promote voluntary transfers by providing adequate information to the applicant and should ensure that supervised or escorted transfers are undertaken in a humane manner, in full compliance with fundamental rights and respect for human dignity, as well as the best interests of the child and taking utmost account of developments in the relevant case law, in particular as regards transfers on humanitarian grounds.
- The progressive creation of an area without internal frontiers in which free movement of persons is guaranteed in accordance with the TFEU and the establishment of Union policies regarding the conditions of entry and stay of third-country nationals, including common efforts towards the management of external borders, makes it necessary to strike a balance between responsibility criteria in a spirit of solidarity.
- Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data(10) applies to the processing of personal data by the Member States under this Regulation.
- The exchange of an applicant’s personal data, including sensitive data on his or her health, prior to a transfer, will ensure that the competent asylum authorities are in a position to provide applicants with adequate assistance and to ensure continuity in the protection and rights afforded to them. Special provisions should be made to ensure the protection of data relating to applicants involved in that situation, in accordance with Directive 95/46/EC.
- The application of this Regulation can be facilitated, and its effectiveness increased, by bilateral arrangements between Member States for improving communication between competent departments, reducing time limits for procedures or simplifying the processing of requests to take charge or take back, or establishing procedures for the performance of transfers.
- Continuity between the system for determining the Member State responsible established by Regulation (EC) No 343/2003 and the system established by this Regulation should be ensured. Similarly, consistency should be ensured between this Regulation and Regulation (EU) No 603/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on the establishment of Eurodac for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person and on requests for the comparisons with Eurodac data by Member States’ law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes(11).
- The operation of the Eurodac system, as established by Regulation (EU) No 603/2013, should facilitate the application of this Regulation.
- The operation of the Visa Information System, as established by Regulation (EC) No 767/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 concerning the Visa Information System (VIS) and the exchange of data between Member States on short-stay visas(12), and in particular the implementation of Articles 21 and 22 thereof, should facilitate the application of this Regulation.
- With respect to the treatment of persons falling within the scope of this Regulation, Member States are bound by their obligations under instruments of international law, including the relevant case-law of the European Court of Human Rights.
- In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of this Regulation, implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission. Those powers should be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by the Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers(13).
- The examination procedure should be used for the adoption of a common leaflet on Dublin/Eurodac, as well as a specific leaflet for unaccompanied minors; of a standard form for the exchange of relevant information on unaccompanied minors; of uniform conditions for the consultation and exchange of information on minors and dependent persons; of uniform conditions on the preparation and submission of take charge and take back requests; of two lists of relevant elements of proof and circumstantial evidence, and the periodical revision thereof; of a laissez passer; of uniform conditions for the consultation and exchange of information regarding transfers; of a standard form for the exchange of data before a transfer; of a common health certificate; of uniform conditions and practical arrangements for the exchange of information on a person’s health data before a transfer, and of secure electronic transmission channels for the transmission of requests.
- In order to provide for supplementary rules, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 TFEU should be delegated to the Commission in respect of the identification of family members, siblings or relatives of an unaccompanied minor; the criteria for establishing the existence of proven family links; the criteria for assessing the capacity of a relative to take care of an unaccompanied minor, including where family members, siblings or relatives of the unaccompanied minor stay in more than one Member State; the elements for assessing a dependency link; the criteria for assessing the capacity of a person to take care of a dependent person and the elements to be taken into account in order to assess the inability to travel for a significant period of time. In exercising its powers to adopt delegated acts, the Commission shall not exceed the scope of the best interests of the child as provided for under Article 6(3) of this Regulation. It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level. The Commission, when preparing and drawing up delegated acts, should ensure a simultaneous, timely and appropriate transmission of relevant documents to the European Parliament and to the Council.
- In the application of this Regulation, including the preparation of delegated acts, the Commission should consult experts from, among others, all relevant national authorities.
- Detailed rules for the application of Regulation (EC) No 343/2003 have been laid down by Regulation (EC) No 1560/2003. Certain provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1560/2003 should be incorporated into this Regulation, either for reasons of clarity or because they can serve a general objective. In particular, it is important, both for the Member States and the applicants concerned, that there should be a general mechanism for finding a solution in cases where Member States differ over the application of a provision of this Regulation. It is therefore justified to incorporate the mechanism provided for in Regulation (EC) No 1560/2003 for the settling of disputes on the humanitarian clause into this Regulation and to extend its scope to the entirety of this Regulation.
- The effective monitoring of the application of this Regulation requires that it be evaluated at regular intervals.
- This Regulation respects the fundamental rights and observes the principles which are acknowledged, in particular, in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. In particular, this Regulation seeks to ensure full observance of the right to asylum guaranteed by Article 18 of the Charter as well as the rights recognised under Articles 1, 4, 7, 24 and 47 thereof. This Regulation should therefore be applied accordingly.
- Since the objective of this Regulation, namely the establishment of criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of the scale and effects of this Regulation, be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Regulation does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective.
- In accordance with Article 3 and Article 4a(1) of Protocol No 21 on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland in respect of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, annexed to the TEU and to the TFEU, those Member States have notified their wish to take part in the adoption and application of this Regulation.
- In accordance with Articles 1 and 2 of Protocol No 22 on the position of Denmark, annexed to the TEU and to the TFEU, Denmark is not taking part in the adoption of this Regulation and is not bound by it or subject to its application,
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