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UNHCR issues recommendations to Spain’s EU Presidency

Briefing notes

UNHCR issues recommendations to Spain’s EU Presidency

18 December 2009

UNHCR has issued its recommendations to Spain, as it prepares to assume the EU Presidency on 1 January 2010. Taking up its six-month role shortly after adoption of the Lisbon Treaty and the EU's Stockholm Programme, Spain will oversee the preparation of an Action Plan for the EU's legislative and policy agenda over the next five years, including in the areas of asylum, migration and border management, among others.

UNHCR issues recommendations to each incoming EU Presidency. Our recommendations seek to provide constructive input, in this case, not only on preparations to implement the Stockholm Programme, but also on other issues which will be negotiated under Spain's leadership. These include discussions on proposed amendments to EU laws on reception conditions for asylum-seekers, the system for allocating responsibility among Member States for asylum claims, EU asylum procedures and criteria for protection. UNHCR also calls for the new European Asylum Support Office - whose first Director is expected to be appointed during Spain's EU Presidency - to focus closely on improving quality of asylum decision-making in the EU.

UNHCR notes Spain's intention to make migration management a key part of its agenda, and encourages it to ensure due regard for safeguards for people seeking protection. As part of the EU's cooperation with third countries, UNHCR urges Spain to foster links between development actions and durable solutions to problems of forced displacement, including internal displacement.