Tomorrow, 21 December, is the deadline for the transposition into national legislation of the recast Qualification Directive, which aims at introducing a uniform status and protection for refugees and persons eligible for subsidiary protection. Member States bound by the Directive must have brought into force the domestic legislation necessary to comply with the Directive.
The recast constitutes a step towards EU-wide harmonisation of eligibility criteria for international protection and a selection of minimum standards of protection. The recast extends the definition of family including minor children regardless of whether they are dependent or not on the beneficiary of international protection; introduces an explicit obligation for Member States to take into consideration gender-related aspects (e.g. gender identity for the purpose of the concept of membership of a particular social group); and explicitly mentions the principles of the best interests of the child as a primary consideration for Member States – in particular in the context of the principle of family unity and the child’s general well-being, safety and social development.
In 7 October 2013, ECRE published an Information note, providing guidance as to the effective implementation of the recast Qualification Directive, in a manner consistent with international human rights and refugee law. It outlined amendments introduced by the recast and provided recommendations as to the interpretation of certain provisions, which were left unaddressed by the recast, but remain areas of concern.
The recast Directive was adopted in December 2011 and is binding on all EU Member States, except for the UK, Denmark and Ireland, who have opted out of the recast Directive. However, the UK and Ireland remain bound by the previous 2004 Directive.