An intergovernmental agreement between the EU Member states on asylum. The Convention obliges the country through which asylum seekers first enter the EU to handle applications for asylum on behalf of all other Member states -unless there are good reasons why the case should be handled by another state.
This procedure is designed to prevent refugees from making multiple asylum applications or targeting more friendly/lenient countries. The agreement was reached in 1990, but only became binding in 1997.
In December 2002, the ministers for Justice and Home affairs decided to commutarianise rules with the same purpose and make them binding supra-nationally through EU law. In 2003, the Dublin Convention was replaced by the so-called Dublin II Regulation.
Recently the treaty has been extended to some countries outside the Union. Switzerland has become a signatory to the Convention and on the 5th June 2005 voted by 54.6% of voters to ratify it; it came into effect on 12 December 2008.
Disputes over asylum can now be dealt with by the EU Court in Luxembourg.
Denmark was signatory to the Dublin Convention but has an opt-out (derogation) from the supra-national decision-making.
The Lisbon Treaty has qualified majority decision-making in this area and has thereby transferred the policy area from intergovernmental to supranational decision-making.
See also Denmark.