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Project News: Virtual expert meeting on EU asylum procedures in the framework of ICMPD’s Annual Policy Initiative 2020 (API)

5 October 2020

With COVID-19 the second external shock to asylum systems in 5 years, ICMPD held a virtual meeting on 1 October on strengthening asylum procedures to promote human and public security. This was the latest in a series of virtual Member State meetings as part of ICMPD’s Annual Policy Initiative 2020.

By creating a space for the exchange of experiences and views among senior experts and practitioners in the field of asylum, the debate aimed at exploring ways in which asylum procedures can work in times of crisis to promote both human and state security. The debate built off a previous API discussion on international protection and asylum appeals proceedings

Participants discussed the challenges created by external shocks and their impact on asylum systems in Europe, with a specific focus on the 2015-16 spike in arrivals and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They also explored lessons learnt and ways in which asylum systems can respond to future crises, including a discussion of the provisions in the recently released Pact on Migration and Asylum.

The conversation focused on three main elements:

The first round of discussion aimed at taking stock of procedural challenges in the context of external shocks and their impact on asylum systems in Europe. After discussing the specific challenges and lessons learnt that were identified by EU Commission as part of its Pact package, participants then moved to exchange their experiences and the perspectives of their Member States.

In the second round, participants shared their expectations and recommendations for the further development of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). They also explored proposed measures in the Pact and how well they address issues of state and human security. This included the new measures at the external border and the creation of a crisis and force majeure mechanism.

A frequent observation during the discussion was the importance of keeping a broader picture in mind when analysing human and state security issues. The meeting ended with participants sharing their initial impressions about the new Pact more broadly, both positive and negative, and whether or not it truly represents a “fresh start”. 

About the project

ICMPD is dedicating its API 2020 to the issue of safeguarding human and public security in the context of migration. The overall purpose of the API is to contribute to an analysis of the migration-security nexus, to further stimulate policy and strategic discussions and to propose policy recommendations for strengthened migration governance.

More information on API can be found here.