The concept of first country of asylum is defined pursuant to Article 26 of the 2005 Asylum Procedures Directive. A country can be considered to be a first country of asylum for a particular applicant for asylum if:
(a) He or she has been recognised in that country as a refugee and he or she can still avail him or herself of that protection; or
(b) He or she otherwise enjoys sufficient protection in that country, including benefiting from the principle of non-refoulement;
provided that he or she will be re-admitted to that country.
In applying the concept of first country of asylum to the particular circumstances of an applicant for asylum Member States may take into the Safe Third Country criteria. It should be noted that Member States are not required to apply the concept of first country of asylum, as Article 26 is a permissive provision.
Sweden saw no reason to amend the existing legislation, when implementing the Recast Asylum Procedures Directive, something that inter alia UNHCR and organisations such as Swedish Red Cross recommended. All procedural guarantees were according to the government already in place.1