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4.2.4 National efforts to amend the overall process

Member States did not implement any major institutional, legislative or policy changes related to the Dublin procedure in 2020. The beginning of the year suggested the continuation of 2019 trends, when relatively few legislative and policy changes happened, with the exception of countries that received a high number of applicants who would need to be transferred back to another Member State under the Dublin III Regulation or applicants who had already obtained international protection in another Member State.358 Even then, for example in Belgium or the Netherlands, most of these developments were related to restricting access to material reception conditions (see Section 4.6) and did not introduce changes in the organisation of the Dublin procedure itself. 

A notable institutional change happened in Denmark, where the Danish Return Agency – a new governmental agency under the Ministry of Immigration and Integration – took over the handling of Dublin transfers. This was previously the responsibility of the Danish police.359
Significant amendments to the Law on Asylum and Refugees in Bulgaria had impacts on the organisation of the Dublin procedure in the country. Some processes related to decisions on Dublin cases were clarified, with the aim to have a more efficient and timely procedure. In the Netherlands, the Aliens Circular was amended to reflect CJEU jurisprudence in Jawo and clarified when an applicant can be considered to have absconded.360  Internal guidelines were amended in Germany as well in order to clarify the definition of abscondence. 

Some developments touched upon remedies within the Dublin procedure. A draft law was put forward in Luxembourg, which would modify the remedy system available for decisions within the Dublin procedure and align the time limits and methods of appeal across the asylum procedure.361  The Swedish Migration Court of Appeal confirmed that the Dublin III Regulation provides a remedy against a transfer decision, and Sweden’s decision not to take responsibility for the examination of an application cannot be appealed. 

With the formalisation of Brexit, clarifications were needed for the functioning of the Dublin procedure. For example, the Swedish Migration Agency published a legal position on the applicability of the Dublin III Regulation regarding the United Kingdom after 31 December 2020, noting that the regulation as a whole will no longer apply between Sweden and the UK,362 while the Irish High Court rejected the appeal of an Iraqi applicant against his transfer to the UK, basing its reasoning on CJEU jurisprudence from 2019 on the impact of Brexit on the implementation of the Dublin III Regulation in C-661/17.363 In addition, the court also noted that the applicant’s relationship with a cousin was not covered under the definition of family members, thus a cousin residing in Ireland does not oblige the authorities to take this into consideration when applying different criteria to determine the Member which is responsible.



[358] European Asylum Support Office. (June 2020). EASO Asylum Report 2020: The Situation of Asylum in the European Union.
[359] Ministry of Immigration and Integration | Udlændinge- og Integrationsministeriet. (2020, August 27). Kort om Hjemrejsestyrelsen [Briefly about the Danish Return Agency].
Besluit van de Staatssecretaris van Justitie en Veiligheid van 27 oktober 2020, nummer WBV 2020/22, houdende wijziging van de Vreemdelingencirculaire 2000 [Decision of the State Secretary for Justice and Security of 27 October 2020, number WBV 2020/22, amending the Aliens Circular 2000].
[361] Projet de loi portant modification de la loi du 18 décembre 2015 relative à la protection internationale et à la protection temporaire [Draft law concerning the amendment of the Law of 18 December 2016 on international protection and on temporary protection], October 16, 2020.
[362] Swedish Migration Agency | Migrationsverket. (2020, December 14). Rättsligt ställningstagande. Tillämpligheten av Dublinförordningen visavi Storbritannien efter den 31 december 2020 - RS/023/2020, 2020-12-14 [Legal position. Applicability of the Dublin Regulation vis-à-vis the United Kingdom after 31 December 2020 - RS/023/2020, 2020-12-14]. 
[363] European Asylum Support Office. (June 2020). EASO Asylum Report 2020: The Situation of Asylum in the European Union.