Solidarity in the field of asylum

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EESC opinion: Solidarity in the field of asylum

Key points

The Committee welcomes the Commission's initiative and considers that European asylum policy needs to be debated and amended.

The Committee considers that the principle of solidarity should continue to be the cornerstone of this policy, despite the fact that the number and size of the Member States together with their varying degrees of exposure to refugee flows creates an uneven playing field which complicates asylum policy. A major push should be made to ensure that public opinion, national, regional and local administrations and decision-makers support the basic values of asylum policy: respect for fundamental individual rights, helping people in critical situations, solidarity and trust between Member States.

The Committee considers that an incentive-based approach could get asylum policy running smoothly, provided that the most appropriate incentives are identified and properly supported, including financial support.

As regards practical cooperation, the Committee urges the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) to make swifter progress towards greater operational capacity. Boosting the EASO's capacity is both urgent and necessary and should be coordinated with the Migration and Asylum Fund's programme and implementation.

The Committee also calls for improvements to refugee integration measures. Despite its efficient procedures for swiftly and correctly granting refugee status, the European asylum system which we aim to build could fail in the area of integration.

It should be pointed out that the solidarity principle does not apply solely between States: it is a general principle for humane interaction between people and groups. The spirit of humane solidarity should be cultivated and fostered above and beyond the rationale and pressures of migration and asylum policy, as part of the EU's core values.