Briefing Paper 1

Gradually the development of the free movement of people within the European Union has given rise to concerns about the differences between the national immigration and asylum systems of the Member States. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, political discussions surrounded the creation of common or coordinated systems of immigration control. This was speeded up with the creation of the Schengen zone of free movement. Gradually the Member States moved closer ti create common EU policies. Since 1999, and the ratification of the Treaty of Amsterdam, the EU Member States and institutions have been working on the harmonisation of European asylum and immigration systems.

Read “Recognising peoples’ rights: qualifying for Refugee Status” (PDF – 58 KB)

Briefing Paper 2

Increased integration of the EU, in terms of free movement of workers and citizens, has raised new issues and complications for national asylum and immigration systems, since non-EU citizens are also able to move freely. This is particularly true between the so-called Schengen countries.

Read “A race to the bottom: Harmonisation of where and how asylum applications are dealt with” (PDF – 80 KB)

Briefing Paper 3

In Europe the costs and standards of accommodation and social assistance offered to asylum seekers vary widely. Some countries provide the same level of social care to asylum seekers as they offer to their own citizens in need. In others the level of provision is reduced, and yet others place time limits on the provision of services and goods to asylum seekers. Some European countries exclude assistance if another country might be held responsible for an asylum application.

Read “Tools for integration: Harmonising reception conditons” (PDF – 57 KB)

Briefing Paper 4

Migratory movements have always happened and today they have become a permanent global phenomenon. European countries have been, and continue to be, places not only of mass immigration, but also emigration even today. The roots of migration are diverse in nature, from war, conflict and persecution to abject poverty, exclusion, ignorance and natural disasters. However, we must consider migration in terms of ‘pull’ factors as well as ‘push’ factors. The explosion of the consumer society in west European countries and the spread of European and American entertainment and products through globalisation have played a major role. This is coupled with the continued need for low-wage, low-status workers in the world’s wealthiest regions.

Read “Undocumented migrants: halting the traffic of human beings while protecting fundamental rights” (PDF – 63 KB)