The article examines and assesses the various instruments developed at the European level for granting protection to asylum-seekers. It starts by providing an historical overview of asylum and immigration law and policy in the European Union, from its origins to the changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty and recast proposals of existing legislative instruments. In so doing, the article critically examines whether the European Union provides an adequate framework for protecting those seeking international protection both from the perspective of effectiveness and fairness and shows that despite some changes ensuring a stronger level of protection of asylum-seekers the recast process still does not ensure an equal standard of protection across European Union Member States.

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