The Dublin Regulation (Regulation No. 604/2013; sometimes the Dublin III Regulation; previously the Dublin II Regulation and Dublin Convention) is a European Union (EU) law that determines the EU Member State responsible to examine an application for asylum seekers seeking international protection under the Geneva Convention and the EU Qualification Directive, within the European Union. It is the cornerstone of the Dublin System, which consists of the Dublin Regulation and the EURODAC Regulation, which establishes a Europe-wide fingerprinting database for unauthorised entrants to the EU. The Dublin Regulation aims to "determine rapidly the Member State responsible [for an asylum claim]" and provides for the transfer of an asylum seeker to that Member State. Usually, the responsible Member State will be the state through which the asylum seeker first entered the EU.
The Dublin regime was originally established by the Dublin Convention, which was signed in Dublin, Ireland on 15 June 1990, and first came into force on 1 September 1997 for the first twelve signatories (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom), on 1 October 1997 for Austria and Sweden, and on 1 January 1998 for Finland. While the convention was only open to accession by member states of the European Communities, Norway and Iceland, non-member states, concluded agreements with the EC to apply the provisions of the Convention in their territories.
The Dublin II Regulation was adopted in 2003, replacing the Dublin Convention in all EU member states except Denmark, which has an opt-out from implementing regulations under the area of freedom, security and justice. An agreement with Denmark on extending the application of the Regulation to Denmark came into force in 2006. A separate protocol also extended the Iceland-Norway agreement to Denmark in 2006. The provisions of the Regulation were also extended by a treaty to non-member states Switzerland on 1 March 2008, which on 5 June 2005 voted by 54.6% to ratify it, and Liechtenstein. A protocol subsequently made this agreement also applicable to Denmark.
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On 3 December 2008, the European Commission proposed amendments to the Dublin Regulation, creating an opportunity for reform of the Dublin System. The Dublin III Regulation (No. 604/2013) was approved in June 2013, replacing the Dublin II Regulation, and applies to all member states except Denmark. It came into force on 19 July 2013. It is based on the same principle on the previous two i.e. that the first Member State where finger prints are stored or an asylum claim is lodged is responsible for a person's asylum claim.
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One of the principal aims of the Dublin Regulation is to prevent an applicant from submitting applications in multiple Member States. Another aim is to reduce the number of "orbiting" asylum seekers, who are shuttled from member state to member state. The country in which the asylum seeker first applies for asylum is responsible for either accepting or rejecting the claim, and the seeker may not restart the process in another jurisdiction.
According to European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) and UNHCR the current system fails in providing fair, efficient and effective protection. Around 2008, those refugees transferred under Dublin were not always able to access an asylum procedure. This put people at risk of being returned to persecution. The claim has been made on a number of occasions both by ECRE and UNHCR, that the Dublin regulation impedes the legal rights and personal welfare of asylum seekers, including the right to a fair examination of their asylum claim and, where recognised, to effective protection, as well as the uneven distribution of asylum claims among Member States.
Application of this regulation can seriously delay the presentation of claims, and can result in claims never being heard. Causes of concern include the use of detention to enforce transfers of asylum seekers from the state where they apply to the state deemed responsible, also known as Dublin transfers, the separation of families and the denial of an effective opportunity to appeal against transfers. The Dublin system also increases pressures on the external border regions of the EU, where the majority of asylum seekers enter EU and where states are often least able to offer asylum seekers support and protection.
After ECRE, the UNHCR and other non-governmental organisations openly criticised Greece's asylum system, including the lack of protection and care for unaccompanied children, several countries suspended transfers of asylum seekers to Greece under the Dublin II regulation. Norway announced in February 2008 it would stop transferring any asylum seeker back to Greece under the Dublin II regulation. In September, it backtracked and announced that transfers to Greece would be based on individual assessments. In April 2008 Finland announced a similar move.
The European Court of Human Rights in the case M.S.S. v Belgium and Greece, judged on 21 January 2011 that both the Greek and the Belgian governments violated the European Convention on Human Rights by applying the EU's own law on asylum seekers and were given fines of €6,000 and €30,000, respectively. Recently, voices have been heard calling for the imposition of tougher sanctions, should similar cases of trying to follow EU asylum laws occur in the future.
Partial suspension during 2015 European migrant crisis
Contrary to what is often stated, under the Dublin III Regulations, there are no obligations stated for asylum seekers themselves, and in particular no direct obligation for them to apply for asylum in the first EU country they entered. Nor is a government forced under law to send asylum seekers away, the regulations explicitly state that any member of the EU may take responsibility for an asylum seeker and describe how this should be communicated to any other member that has already started proceedings. However the regulations do set down allowable procedures for governments and the legal process for the transference of asylum seekers between countries, and in particular back to the first country they can be proved to have entered within the EU if that was within the previous twelve months, often by use of their fingerprints.
During the 2015 European refugee and migrant crisis, Hungary became overburdened by asylum applications to the point that it stopped on 23 June 2015 receiving back its applicants who later crossed the borders to other EU countries and were detained there. On 24 August 2015, Germany decided to make use of the "sovereignty clause" to voluntarily assume responsibility for processing Syrian asylum applications for which it is not otherwise responsible under the criteria of the Regulation. On 2 September 2015, the Czech Republic also decided to offer Syrian refugees who have already applied for asylum in other EU countries and who reach the country to either have their application processed in the Czech Republic (i.e. get asylum there) or to continue their journey elsewhere. Other member states such as Hungary, Slovakia and Poland officially stated their opposition to any possible revision or enlargement of the Dublin Regulation, specifically referring to the eventual introduction of new mandatory or permanent quotas for solidarity measures. Deutsche Welle reported in October 2015 that in Germany many politicians from the ruling coalition criticized the suspension of Dublin rules, "saying that many migrants would see her [i.e. chancellor Merkels] decision as an invitation to apply for asylum in Germany."
- Asylum shopping
- Child migration
- European Convention on Nationality
- List of international and European law on child protection and migration
- Refugee law
- Schengen area
- Transnational child protection
- Unaccompanied minor
- Da Lomba, Sylvia (26 February 2004). Right to Seek Refugee Status in the European Union. Intersentia. ISBN 9050953492.
- "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". Official Journal of the European Union. L (50/1). 25 February 2003. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
- "Convention determining the State responsible for examining applications for asylum lodged in one of the Member States of the European Communities (Deposited with the Government of Ireland)". Council of the European Union. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
- "Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Iceland and the Kingdom of Norway concerning the criteria and mechanisms for establishing the State responsible for examining a request for asylum lodged in a Member State or in Iceland or Norway". Council of the European Union. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
- "Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Denmark on the criteria and mechanisms for establishing the state responsible for examining a request for asylum lodged in Denmark or any other Member State of the European Union and "Eurodac" for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of the Dublin Convention". Council of the European Union. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
- "Protocol to the Agreement between the European Community, the Republic of Iceland and the Kingdom of Norway, concerning the criteria and mechanisms for establishing the State responsible for examining a request for asylum lodged in a Member State or in Iceland or Norway". Council of the European Union. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
- "Agreement between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation concerning the criteria and mechanisms for establishing the State responsible for examining a request for asylum lodged in a Member State or in Switzerland". Council of the European Union. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
- "Protocol between the European Community, the Swiss Confederation and the Principality of Liechtenstein on the accession of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the Agreement between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation concerning the criteria and mechanisms for establishing the State responsible for examining a request for asylum lodged in a Member State or in Switzerland". Council of the European Union. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
- "Protocol between the European Community, the Swiss Confederation and the Principality of Liechtenstein to the Agreement between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation concerning the criteria and mechanisms for establishing the State responsible for examining a request for asylum in a Member State or in Switzerland". Council of the European Union. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
- "European Commission Proposal to recast the Dublin Regulation" (PDF). European Commission. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
- "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)". Official Journal of the European Union. L (180/31). 29 June 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
-  Archived 22 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Sharing Responsibility for Refugee Protection in Europe: Dublin Reconsidered". ECRE. Retrieved 31 March 2008.
- "ECRE Comments on the European Commission Proposal to recast the Dublin Regulation" (PDF). ECRE. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "UNHCR's Comments on the European Commission's Proposal for a recast of the Dublin and Eurodac Regulations". UNHCR. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
- "Greece under fire over refugee treatment". EU Observer. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
- "ECRE calls for suspension of Dublin transfers to Greece". ECRE. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
- "Left to Survive: Systematic Failure to Protect Unaccompanied Migrant Children in Greece". HRW. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
- "Finland halts migrant transfer to Greece after UN criticism". EU Observer. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
- The ‘Dublin Regulation’ undermines refugee rights Archived 12 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
- Valentina Pop, "Human rights court deals blow to EU asylum system," EU Observer (21 January 2011). Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- ECHR Press Release on the case
- ECHR Grand chamber judgement 21 Januar 2011 in the case of M.S.S. v. BELGIUM AND GREECE, (Application no. 30696/09)
- Harald Köpping, "A Vision of a Fair Asylum System for Europe," EUtopia (11 July 2012). Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- "Defying EU, Hungary suspends rules on asylum seekers". Reuters. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
- "Germany: Halt on Dublin procedures for Syrians". Retrieved 8 March 2016.
- "Change in Czech refugee policy". Prague Post. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
- "Refugee and Migrant crisis: Hungary refugees and migrants start walk to border – BBC News". Retrieved 5 September 2015.
- Logics of Decision-making on Community Asylum Policy: A Case Study of the Evolvement of the Dublin II Regulation University of Oslo: ARENA Working Paper 03/2006
- Text of the Dublin Convention
- Text of the Dublin II regulation 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
- Text of the current Dublin Regulation 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
- European Council on Refugees and Exiles's (ECRE) position on the Dublin Regulation
- Fact sheet from the Irish Refugee Council
- Factsheet on "Dublin" cases before the European Court of Human Rights
- Article about an alternative to the distribution system of the Dublin II Regulation (Katapult-Magazine, 2015-04-07)