A majority of actors nowadays share the insight that the Dublin III Regulation and the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) do not provide a mechanism that allows solidarity-based responsibility sharing between the European Member States. However, there are different ideas and positions on what consequences should follow from this.
We propose a decentralized approach to the solidarity-based sharing of responsibilities. Instead of an obligatory relocation quota of asylum seekers at the Member State level, Member States still committed to refugee reception could allow their cities and municipalities to receive. The cities and municipalities could state what they offer (e.g. welcoming guides, intercultural projects, already existing connections to countries of origin, etc.) and what they need (e.g. open positions in local labor markets, students for keeping the public school open, etc.) on a platform. In turn, after registration asylum seekers would fill in their own preferences. Following a comparison of the preferences of municipalities and asylum seekers, asylum seekers could select a municipality from the matches. It is important to stress, that access to the asylum procedure must be guaranteed from the very beginning.
Such a ‘matching method’ is not about ‘cherry picking’ or recruiting people, but about acknowledging that municipalities and people are different and diverse. It also helps in making mutual expectations visible. Respecting asylum seekers’ preferences, as well as allowing for better planning on the part of the municipalities, is better than enforcing a mandatory relocation quota, which does not take into account the wishes of asylum seekers on where to settle.