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Asylum and refugee issues, Asylum Policy in the European Union, Information on Countries of Origin, Resettlement 

Asylum in the European Union

The main idea – as well as the main goal – of a common EU asylum policy is focused on the development of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). At the end of this process fully harmonized asylum policies of each member state should exist and they should include all stages of asylum procedure, i.e. from the reception to the integration or return of the asylum seeker.

From the general point of view the process of creation of CEAS includes two main steps. The first step includes adoption of common minimal standards - to reach at least basic harmonization. Today we can agree that this step of CEAS was successfully finished and its evaluation takes place. The following second step will consist of enhancing of these standards.

The main directions of CEAS and the rough content of this harmonization are regularly included in EU political documents – such as EU Council Conclusions from Tampere 1999, The Hague Program 2004, The Green Paper 2007 and the upcoming Post-Hague Program.

The EU Council Conclusions from Tampere (1999) are the general basis of CEAS. Right here Council of the EU agreed on the CEAS development and managed to draft a five year plan for the period 2000-2005. Next conceptual document called The Hague Program (and its Action Plan) from 2004 was closely connected to the Tampere Plan and brought ideas for the period covering 2004-2009. Than on its basis the Green Paper on the Future Common European Asylum System was published in June 2007 and it is focused particularly on the area of asylum. The Green Paper covers four main areas: 1) the legal instruments 2) implementation 3) solidarity and burden sharing 4) the external dimension of asylum.

A document which should follow The Hague Program is called the Post-Hague program and its adoption is expected during the year 2009. This program should cover the period 2010-2014.

Present situation in CEAS

Specific number of intended actions was introduced by the European Commission in document called the Policy plan on Asylum (published in June 2008) – which is the document introducing more detailed proposals which were roughly presented in the Green Paper.

At the first place, the plan is talking about the necessity to revise yet implemented asylum directives in order to increase the present level of standards and generally suggests which higher standards should be reached. First legislative proposals are expected in autumn 2008, others during the year 2009.
To conclude - according to the above mentioned harmonogram - the Czech Presidency in the Council of the EU in the first half of the year 2009 would be very busy in the field of asylum.

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