Bulgarian border police secure the fence on the border between Turkey and Bulgaria at the checkpoint of Lesovo, some 350 km from Sofia. Credit: EPA/VASSIL DONEV
Bulgarian border police secure the fence on the border between Turkey and Bulgaria at the checkpoint of Lesovo, some 350 km from Sofia. Credit: EPA/VASSIL DONEV

The UN refugee agency has presented a number of recommendations as Bulgaria takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union. These include calls for the reformed Dublin system to include a solidarity mechanism within the EU entailing the relocation of asylum-seekers" as well as the strengthening of "legal pathways" for refugees to arrive in Europe.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) published a series of recommendations for Bulgaria as part of its six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union. The UN refugee agency stressed that ''a strong Presidency" was needed in order to "pave the way for ensuring a well-managed asylum system in the EU, including more solidarity among all EU Member States."

The set of recommendations builds on "two priorities that require urgent attention: better assessment of protection needs in the EU and fostering greater solidarity and responsibility-sharing among EU Member States." 

The UNHCR has said that it hoped that the Bulgarian presidency, which runs from January until June 2018, would commit to "swift and efficient procedures to assess international protection needs for those seeking asylum in the EU and is also calling for the reformed Dublin system to include an intra-EU solidarity mechanism entailing the relocation of asylum-seekers, which can be activated simply, swiftly, and as necessary" with full participation by member states. 

Strengthening legal pathways for refugees 

The set of recommendations presented by the UN agency underscored that "with an estimated 1.2 million persons in need of resettlement globally in 2018," EU member states needed "to continue expanding and strengthening safe and legal pathways for persons in need of international protection that are responsive to global protection needs."

The UNHCR underscored "the need for contingency planning to more effectively respond to changes in arrivals and for systems to better protect refugee children" and "the need to invest more in the integration of refugees in Europe."
 

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