As a result of the large number of asylum seekers arriving in the EU during 2015 and 2016, the debate on the distribution of asylum responsibilities in the EU has gained relevance, leading to the introduction of several new measures. The hotspots approach, described in the 2015 European Agenda on Migration, involves coordinated operational support by the EU agencies (Frontex, EASO and Europol) to Member States faced with disproportionate migratory pressure, with the aim to help them swiftly identify, register and fingerprint migrants, and assist in the implementation of relocation and returns. Alongside operational support, an emergency relocation mechanism was adopted to support member states under pressure: specifically, in September 2015, the Council adopted two Decisions regarding the relocation of 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other Member States to take place over 24 months from the adoption of the decisions. In 2016, the Commission launched an overall reform of the Common European Asylum System, which also includes a set of new measures related to responsibility-sharing. In particular, the Commission proposal on the reform of the Dublin system includes, among other things, the introduction of a permanent corrective allocation mechanism that would be activated automatically in cases where Member States would have to deal with a disproportionate number of asylum seekers. Moreover, the Proposal for a Regulation on the European Union Agency for Asylum presented by the Commission in May 2016 takes stock of the hotspots’ experience by enhancing EASO’s mandate and resources, including operational support in the management of asylum applications.
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