The paper intends to critically examine the various European Union (EU) instruments aimed at protecting asylum-seekers. It starts by providing an historical overview of asylum and immigration law and policy in the EU, from its origins to the changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty. In this context, it also examines the recast of existing legislative instruments. The reform aims at introducing a significant shift in the nature of legislation by way of introducing mandatory obligations for the EU Member States together with the abolition of opt-out clauses and a full harmonization of both procedures and standards, which are also in line with the changes made by the Lisbon Treaty.The paper assesses whether the EU provides an adequate framework for protecting those seeking international protection from the (opposing) perspectives of effectiveness and fairness and shows that despite some changes ensuring a stronger level of protection of asylum-seekers the reform process at European level does not adequately ensure an equal standard of protection across all EU Member States.
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