Breakfast Briefings

Brexit? BB Series: Asylum policy

Breakfast Briefings / 13 November 2015

Open Society Foundation, 7th Floor, Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP

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What is the UK’s position in the Common European Asylum System? What difference, if any, would BREXIT make?

The EU claims to operate a Common European Asylum System (CEAS) as there are common EU rules on who is a refugee, asylum procedures, reception conditions for asylum-seekers and allocation of responsibility for asylum claims. The UK already participates selectively in these measures, and so has a special position in the CEAS, along with Ireland and Denmark. This seminar will explore that special position, and its advantages and disadvantages both for the UK and for refugee protection, and indeed to global refugee regime. It will also consider immigration detention in the UK, another area where the UK is partially, but not fully subject to EU rules, particularly on pre-deportation detention. Non-EU countries are part of the Dublin System, including Switzerland, Norway and Iceland and Liechtenstein. The seminar will explain the status quo, and compare the UK’s position with that of other states with a special position in the CEAS (Ireland, Norway and Denmark in particular). In light of the status quo, the BREXIT issue will be contextualized. Furthermore, the UK position in the EU response to the refugee crisis will be assessed. Thus far, the UK government supports refugees outside the UK via aid, and has made a commitment to resettle 20,000 people over 5 years. In contrast, the EU relocation mechanisms are premised on a collective responsibility for refugees who arrive in Italy and Greece.

Key questions will include:

What is the UK’s current position under the CEAS? How does that compare to other Member States such as Ireland and Denmark, which also participate selectively?

What is the UK’s position as regards the EU’s resettlement and relocation programmes, and other responses to the refugee crisis?

In light of its selective participation, what difference, if any, would BREXIT make?

Breakfast briefing summary

Speaker: Cathryn Costello, Andrew W. Mellon Associate Professor in International Human Rights and Refugee Law, University of Oxford

Part of Brexit? Breakfast Briefings Series 6: Migration implications of EU withdrawal.

This project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council's UK in a Changing Europe initiative.