Report from the European Parliament

on the Hernandez Report (18.03.2002)


The initiative for this proposal on a Council Directive laying down Minimum Standards of Reception for Applicants of Asylum dates from the Amsterdam Treaty.  The purpose of this Directive is to define minimum conditions for the reception of asylum seekers qualified as such by the Geneva Convention. As the 224 amendments show, the MPs share a great deal of interest with this report.  Mr. Hernandez mentioned the most important ones separating them in blocs.


1st Bloc: One of the amendments required to include asylum seekers for other supplementary forms of protection while liberal MP Boumedien was suggesting to extend the scope of minimum conditions for reception to people seeking other forms of reception as well.  As it is at the moment, this Directive only applies only to people from third countries or stateless people as Europe is considered a safe place.  Hernandez stated that Boumedien’s amendment could not be accepted as it would lead to abuse. The greens insisted on taking a final decision concerning an application only after all other appeals have been exhausted. Hernandez asked about which appeals were referred to.


2nd Bloc: Another group of amendment proposals dealt with the conditions for granting and withdrawing refugee status.  Liberals suggested amendments over Art. 2, questioning as to who is a recognized family member: children of asylum seekers, unmarried minors, minors which are not the object of matrimonial dispute nor adopted.  Hernandez objected to this one. As minors are usually unmarried he saw no need to specify.


Concerning amendment 125 on couples in lasting relationships, Hernandez said he preferred the Commission’s text and for each state to decide for itself depending on the legal situation of the couples.  The Greens asked for the Art. On families established in the country of origin to be deleted as it will lead to abuses (?).  Amendment 126 deals with other family members accompanying the applicant.  They are asked to apply as well. Here, Hernandez sees the amendment as futile as accompanying family members are by definition applicants.


3rd Bloc: As far as freedom of movement is concerned, Hernandez clearly rejected the amendments by the liberals for free circulation throughout member states and the Green’s suggestion for a period of six months before freedom to move throughout all EU.  He suggested his own amendment, one that follows the Geneva Convention, while he put these movements under fraud and illegal activities.


Report on the Justice and Home Affairs Council

in Barcelona by Spanish Minister of Interior


Briefly, the suggestion of obtaining travel documents for people who did not receive asylum to facilitate repatriation was brought to a conclusion as the Belgian initiative was adopted.  The latter is a manual of good practice for the regulation of borders.  Also adopted was the regulation establishing the Eurodoc legislation: identification of applicants, refugees, keeping track of the irregular movements in MS and introduce a record of fingerprints.


Mostly, suggestions dealt with the regulation of the flow of asylum seekers and one that involved a better control of borders.  A lot was said about a coordinated police force and Europol but very little about a common policy on asylum.  Some MPs reacted: How is this going to allow for any legal migration and asylum seekers to seek protection?  Aid, reception centers? How real is the progress on administrative cooperation? Negative initiatives, but any positive agenda on a system for legal migration? Need positive initiatives or else no progress, only the creation of a burden.