Proposals to enhance the rights of refugees
The European Parliament has approved the Commission's proposal to amend the Qualification Directive which will enhance the rights granted to refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection in the EU. The Directive guarantees uniform rights when it comes to health care and access to the labour market.
The Commission submitted its proposal for the recast of the Directive on qualification and status of persons in need of international protection in October 2009. Key elements of the proposal include:
•A clarification of various concepts to incorporate the established case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and of the European Court of Human Rights.
•The commitment to take the best interests of the child and gender-related aspects into account in the assessment of asylum applications and in the implementation of the rules on the content of international protection.
•The approximation of the rights granted to refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection with regard to access to employment and to health care.
•Extending the period of validity of a residence permit issued to a beneficiary of subsidiary protection upon the renewal of the initial residence permit, to two years, following the granting of status.
These additional amendments will further improve the quality of the decision-making processes in asylum matters, ensure the respect of human rights and facilitate the integration of beneficiaries of protection in host societies.
The vote allows for a first reading agreement with the Council which now needs to formally adopt the modified Directive. This will happen in the coming weeks.