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folder VI.2.1 Towards a Common European Asylum System (CEAS)

Main Debates

What are the objectives of EU involvement in asylum law?

Does it aim at human rights protection, application of asylum in the context of the EU internal market, or establishment of fortress Europe?

Is the EU involvement in asylum law raising or lowering standards in practice?

What is the relationship of the 1951 Geneva Convention with EU asylum law?

What is the relationship between the 1951 Geneva Convention and Member States’ national law enacted pursuant to the European Community instruments?

What have been the main results of the legislative process and other forms of common policy-making since 1999?

To what extent is the CEAS truly ’common’?

What potential has the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union in asylum cases to influence the development of refugee protection standards, not only in the EU, but also at global level?

Main Points

Historical development of EU law on asylum

Evolving EU competences over asylum matters

Human rights and the EU

Institutional actors and their powers and roles

Evolving roles of the different EU institutions in EU asylum law and policy-making


folder VI.2.1.2 Ongoing Development of the CEAS

Editor’s Note

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has pronounced itself on a number ofimportant questions of interpretation related to the core legal measures adopted as part of the CEAS. We can expect over the next years that important further legal questions relating to the CEAS in application will come before the Court. The rules on access to the CJEU changed in 2009 when the Lisbon Treaty created two new treaties and the restrictions precluding lower courts from referring questions to the CJEU were lifted. Among the outstanding questions is how the CJEU will interpret the CEAS in the light of the 1951 Geneva Convention; and also in light of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The Treaty of Lisbon amended the Treaty on European Union (TEU), which retains its name, and the Treaty Establishing the European Community (TEC), which is renamed as the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

The legislative procedure for measures in the CEAS now follows the normal EU procedures of co-decision with the European Parliament. The Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, is responsible for ensuring that there is a common application of the CEAS in the Member States. The Commission has begun a number of enforcement procedures against Member States for failure to comply with the CEAS, which initially focussed on non-transposition, but increasingly seek to address suspected violations of or failures to fulfil the substantive requirements of the asylum acquis.