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Factsheet: Balancing responsibility and solidarity on migration and asylum

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In managing asylum and migration policy comprehensively, responsibility and solidarity must go hand in hand. The European Commission has a number of immediate and long-term actions to strike the necessary balance between taking responsibility and ensuring solidarity of Member States.


The European Union’s asylum standards are among the highest in the world and the Commission, as Guardian of the Treaties enforces their implementation. The Commission is committed to assisting Member States to properly apply the EU’s common asylum rules and to manage the refugee crisis. The Commission and European Asylum Support Office (EASO) have provided operational guidance for Member States to assist them with the implementation of asylum legislation and regularly meets with the Member States. In cases where Member States do not comply with the common asylum rules, the Commission enforces their application through infringement proceedings.

• On 27 May 2015, the Commission published guidelines for Member States setting out a best practice approach for fingerprinting newly arrived applicants for international protection. Currently,
Member States apply the existing legislation under varying conditions, using either detention, coercion or neither to ensure fingerprinting. As a result, the Commission services put forward a common approach for the process of fingerprinting.

• EU legislation includes specific provisions to fight against abuses, for example by allowing swift processing of asylum applications likely to be unfounded, including for people originating from countries considered as ‘safe’. In September 2015, the Commission proposed a Regulation establishing an EU common list of safe countries of origin. A European list would allow for swifter processing of individual asylum applications of persons originating from ‘safe’ countries and for faster returns if it is confirmed that they have no right of asylum. Applicants will have the right to challenge the presumption of safety in light of their individual circumstances, and should receive protection if the conditions are met.

The Commission proposed to include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey in the EU common list of safe countries of origin.

The proposal must now be adopted by the European Parliament and Council. The Commission has also called for a stronger and more coherent use by Member States of the provisions allowing the return of asylum seekers to safe third countries.

• As guardian of the Treaties, the Commission is responsible for monitoring the full and correct implementation of the instruments of the Common European Asylum System. Since 23 September 2015, the Commission has adopted a total of 58 infringement decisions related to the EU asylum acquis. There are currently 70 open infringement procedures that include one or more violations of the instruments in the table below.