The facts are enlightening: 75% of asylum applications are submitted to only six member states (France, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Italy). Based on that finding, the European Commission proposes, in a communication(1) published on 2 December 2011, to strengthen solidarity on asylum among member states. Apart from technical and financial assistance, the executive stresses the relocation of beneficiaries of international protection among the member states.

"We have heard many a declaration about asylum solidarity, not least during the past year, but we have not seen as much action. The time for talk is over. The values of solidarity, tolerance and mutual respect now need to be turned into concrete results," said Cecilia Malmstrom, the commissioner for home affairs. "To those member states with ill-functioning asylum systems: it is time to get your house in order," Malmstrom said, challenging the 27 member states.

This communication is part of an extremely difficult negotiation on the European asylum system (the asylum package), whose conclusion is theoretically planned for the end of 2012. The Commission has several times made proposals for directives and regulations. The European Parliament and the Council recently (in November 2011) adopted a directive revising Directive 2004/83/EC on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third-country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted.

Regretting the "over-population of refugees in Malta," the commissioner hopes that the system of relocating beneficiaries of international protection in member states will become permanent. In 2009, the Commission had launched a pilot project entitled EUREMA, which ended during the summer of 2011 and which allowed the relocation to another member state, until June 2011, of precisely 227 persons receiving international protection in Malta.

The Commission considers this project to be a success and has stated in its communication that it will propose a...

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