Can the UK opt-out of mandatory EU refugee quotas?

EU Law Analysis, May 2015: In two days’ time (Wednesday May 13th), the EU Commission is due to present a communication on a new EU immigration and asylum agenda. I’ll look at this agenda in detail later, but one key issue calls for comment already: will the UK have an opt-out from mandatory refugee quotas?

Part of the Commission paper has been leaked, and it’s clear that at least on the issue of resettlement of refugees, the current draft of the paper is more ambitious than the conclusions of EU leaders, agreed a couple of weeks ago (see my comments on their conclusions here). In particular, the Commission plans to propose mandatory rules on ‘relocation’ of asylum-seekers and ‘resettlement’ of refugees. In EU jargon, ‘relocation’ refers to those already in the EU, while ‘resettlement’ applies to those currently in non-EU countries. The first group do not necessarily have valid asylum claims, while the latter group usually have their status as refugees positively assessed before they are admitted to the territory. Continue reading “Can the UK opt-out of mandatory EU refugee quotas?”