European Union asylum procedures
Directive 2013/32/EU — common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?
It repeals Directive 2005/85/EC on minimum standards on procedures for granting and withdrawing refugee status in the European Union (EU).
It sets up common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection (refugee status and the protection given to people who are not refugees but who would risk serious harm if returned to their country of origin).
It seeks to ensure that international protection procedures:
are faster and more efficient;
are fairer for applicants;
meet EU-wide standards for granting and withdrawing international protection.
Who is affected?
The directive covers all applications for international protection made in EU countries (with the exception of Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom (1)), including at borders, in territorial waters or in transit zones.
It sets out clearer rules on how to apply for international protection, so that decisions on applications are taken faster and more efficiently than before. Specific arrangements must be made, especially at borders, to help people apply. As a rule, the initial application process (not including appeals) must not take longer than 6 months. Decision-makers must be specifically trained in the process and applicants must be given procedural guarantees.
In well-defined circumstances, where an application is likely to be unfounded or where there are serious national security or public order concerns, special procedures may apply, including a faster process or the processing of applications at the border.
EU countries must ensure that applicants:
have their applications examined individually, objectively and impartially;
are informed, in a language they can understand, of the process being followed, their rights and the decision made. They must be given an interpreter to help them make their case if necessary;
have the right to consult a legal adviser, at their own cost;
have the right to an effective appeal before a court or tribunal and have free legal assistance during their appeal.
EU countries cannot detain a person for the sole reason that he/she is an asylum applicant. Where an applicant is detained, EU rules must be applied as described in the revised directive on standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (the reception conditions directive).
Before the relevant authority reaches its decision, applicants are entitled to a personal interview where they should have the opportunity to set out the full grounds for their application. The person conducting the interview must be competent to take into account the applicant’s personal circumstances and the general circumstances of the situation. EU countries must ensure that information on individual applications is kept confidential.
Specific guarantees for vulnerable people
People with specific procedural needs, for instance because of their age, disability, illness or sexual orientation, or as a consequence of trauma, or for any other reason must be given appropriate support, including sufficient time, to help them with their application process.
Specific requirements exist for unaccompanied children, including the obligation to appoint a qualified representative. More generally, the best interests of all children should be considered when applying the directive.
Preventing repeated applications
EU countries have new ways of dealing with repeated applications made by the same person. People who do not need protection can no longer avoid being returned to their country by constantly making new applications.
FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?
The directive entered into force on 19 July 2013, except for Articles 47 (the possibility for public authorities to challenge administrative and/or judicial decisions as provided for in national legislation) and 48 (confidentiality as regards any information that implementing authorities obtain in the course of their work). These have applied since 21 July 2015.
EU countries had to incorporate the directive into national law by 20 July 2015, except for certain aspects of Article 31, which deals with the examination procedure, which will apply from 20 July 2018.
The EU has been working to create a common European asylum system since 1999. Several legislative measures were adopted between 1999 and 2005. Subsequent legislation was adopted in 2011 (the qualification directive) and in 2013 (the abovementioned directive on reception conditions as well as the regulations on Eurodac and on the revised system which determines which EU country is responsible for examining asylum applications) to improve the way the system works.
For more information, see:
- Following the COVID-19 outbreak and introducing measures to cope with the impact of the crisis, the European Commission adopted:
Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection (OJ L 180, 29.6.2013, pp. 60-95)
Directive 2011/95/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection, and for the content of the protection granted (OJ L 337, 20.12.2011, pp. 9-26)
Regulation (EU) No 603/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on the establishment of ‘Eurodac’ for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person and on requests for the comparison with Eurodac data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes, and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 establishing a European agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (OJ L 180, 29.6.2013, pp. 1-30)
Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (recast) (OJ L 180, 29.6.2013, pp. 31-59)
Directive 2013/33/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (OJ L 180, 29.6.2013, pp. 96-116)
last update 25.05.2020