A fair and efficient asylum system for people seeking protection in Europe


People protesting against the dire circumstances after Moria camp burned down in Greece. 

Migration remains at the forefront of the EU’s agenda. While pushbacks and border violence have become a systematic practice in Europe, the European Commission stands by instead of holding EU countries to account.  

The EU and European governments must work together to create an asylum system that fairly shares the responsibility for welcoming people

We have seen in Greece how Europe’s failure to share responsibility across EU countries has caused thousands to suffer. Families live in legal limbo trapped in slum-like camps or EU-funded prison-like detention centres. We have documented, along with our partner organisation, the Greek Council for Refugees, numerous violations of international and EU law by Greek authorities. In addition, we call on the EU and European governments to stop criminalising human rights defenders, from humanitarian aid workers to legal aid providers, as well as search and rescue organisations.   

Europe's externalisation agenda persists with attempts to blackmail third countries into assuming Europe’s asylum responsibilities and stopping migration towards the EU.  This takes various forms, from dysfunctional migration deals with non-EU countries (e.g., EU-Turkey Agreement), funding and training foreign security forces and border control (the so-called Libyan Coast Guard) to forcing non-EU countries to cooperate on returns in exchange for visas or trade benefits.  

The EU has, for the first time, earmarked 10 percent of its aid budget (NDICI) for migration

There is a high risk that this will likely lead to the misuse or redirection of already scarce aid funds towards stopping migration rather than stopping poverty. This misguided approach will only weaken Europe’s standing as an equal partner while reducing the aid partner countries need as they face multiple global crises, such as the food and climate crisis.