UNHCR releases recommendations to Bulgaria's Council Presidency at a critical moment for asylum reform in the European Union

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, released today a set of recommendations to the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).

“This is a critical moment. We need a strong Presidency that paves the way for ensuring a well managed asylum system in the EU, including more solidarity among all EU Member States” said UNHCR’s Director of the Bureau for Europe, Pascale Moreau.

In its recommendations, UNHCR identifies two priorities that require urgent attention: better assessing protection needs in the EU and fostering greater solidarity and responsibility-sharing among EU Member States.

UNHCR recommends that the Presidency focuses on swift and efficient procedures to assess international protection needs for those seeking asylum in the EU and is also calling for the reformed Dublin system to include an intra-EU solidarity mechanism entailing the relocation of asylum-seekers, which can be activated simply, swiftly-, and as necessary. For such a system to work, full participation in the mechanism needs to be secured.

“A robust EU asylum system that ensures access to the EU’s protection space and efficient asylum procedures, and which is capable of a fair allocation of responsibility for asylum-seekers among EU Member States, also in exceptional circumstances, is the only long-term equitable solution for all States concerned and for refugees,” added Moreau.

The role played by the EU and its Member States at the global space is also highlighted in the recommendations, including calls for increasing safe and legal pathways to Europe for refugees and strong support in the run-up to the adoption of the Global Compact on Refugees in 2018.

UNHCR’s recommendations also focus on the need for contingency planning to more effectively respond to changes in arrivals and for systems to better protect refugee children. They also highlight the need to invest more in the integration of refugees in Europe.

UNHCR remains ready to provide its support to the EU and its Member States, so they can successfully meet the commitments they made in the New York Declaration in 2016 and to reform the Common European Asylum System.

Read the recommendations


Media Contacts:

  • In Brussels: Jan De Bisschop Tel. +32 470993741 bisschoj@unhcr.org
  • In Sofia, Borislav Grozdanov Tel +359 878 865 431 grozdano@unhcr.org