The EESC welcomes and endorses the Commission's work on bringing the Asylum Procedures Directive into line with the suggestions made in the Green Paper and the Policy Plan.
The EESC considers that cultural, legal, administrative and cooperation processes involving the Member States and third countries should be launched in order to build a Europe of asylum within the social Europe.
It is essential that applicants be able to express themselves in their mother tongue during asylum application procedures and that they be guaranteed free legal aid at all stages.
Rejections of applications for international protection must be explained with clear reasons and must include information on the possibilities for appeal, including procedures and timeframes.
Expulsion measures must in any case be suspended pending the outcome of any appeals.
The EESC considers that Member States should do all they can, including by pooling relevant experience, to enable asylum seekers to work, train and take part in cultural activities, within an appropriate social environment.
The EESC believes that the principle of non-return (non-refoulement) must remain firmly in place and that there is a need to agree on a way of expanding the range of people eligible for international protection: women suffering abuse, vulnerable people, environmental refugees, etc.
The EESC argues that a sense of shared responsibility must be enhanced within the Member States.