by DDr. Philip Czech, Senior Scientist at the Austrian Human Rights Institute, University of Salzburg Logo ÖIM_rotweißrot-links-EN Logo_University of Salzburg

For a long time, the European Court of Human Rights showed great respect for state sovereignty in the field of migration and was very reluctant to affirm a right of aliens to enter a Convention State to reunite with family members living there. Only in very rare cases has the Court found violations of the European Convention on Human Rights when migrants or refugees have been denied reunification with their children or spouses in the state of residence. However, recent case-law points to an increasing shift from respect for states’ prerogatives in the field of immigration to a strengthening of the human rights of aliens. On the one hand, the Court has adjusted its approach under Article 8 ECHR giving increased weight to the interests of refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection to be reunited with their loved ones (1) and on the other hand, applicants have been successful in utilising the Article 14 prohibition of discrimination to claim a right to family reunification (2).

Continue reading »

Par Olivier Corten, Professeur ordinaire à l’Université libre de Bruxelles, Directeur du Centre de droit international  LOGO_CDIFdsBlanc-300x111 et Marianne Dony, Professeur ordinaire à l’Université libre de Bruxelles, Chaire Jean Monnet de droit de l’Union européenne    ULB

 

Alors que trois demandeurs demandeurs d’asile – apparemment deux Pakistanais et un Afghan dans les affaires T-192/16, 193/16 et 257/26 – ont demandé au Tribunal de l’Union Européenne l’annulation de l’accord conclu le 18 mars 2016 entre l’UE et la Turquie, il est permis de s’interroger sur la nature exacte de ce “machin” considéré par le service juridique du Parlement Européen comme un simple accord politique, sachant cependant que la recevabilité du recours sera tout d’abord au coeur des débats…

Les autorités européennes affirment à l’unisson que la « déclaration UE-Turquie », dont le contenu a été détaillé dans un communiqué de presse du Conseil européen du 18 mars dernier, n’est pas un accord international mais une simple déclaration d’intention. Qu’en est-il vraiment, au regard des règles du droit de l’Union européenne et du droit international public ?

Continue reading »

 by Ulrike Brandl, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Salzburg UniSalzburgLogo-313x81

In February 2016, the planned introduction of border controls at the Brenner led to massive criticism from Italy. This is a symbolic border because of the historical relations between Austria and Italy and the feeling of a kind of unification after decades of controls separating North and South Tyrol. The facilities to introduce border controls are almost ready. The Austrian authorities however decided to postpone them as the Ministry of the Interior announced that these controls are currently “obsolete” after a meeting between the Italian and Austrian foreign ministers on 13 May. Military personnel and police however are present on transit routes to detect persons crossing the border illegally from Italy. This episode follows the introduction of border controls on the Austrian-Slovenian border and the following chain reactions that were decisive steps in the closure of the Balkan route. This story includes the announcement by Austria to limit the number of new applications for international protection in January 2016 (the so-called “caps”) that deserves closer scrutiny about its legal basis. Continue reading »

par Constantin Hruschka, Professeur invité à l’Université de Bielefeld univeristy bielefeld

Le système de Dublin a été déclaré mort à de nombreuses reprises au cours de la dernière décennie. Il a fait la preuve de ses dysfonctionnements dès ses origines, la répartition des responsabilités qui avait été imaginée n’ayant pas eu les effets escomptés, à savoir la prévention des «réfugiés en orbite» et celle de l’« asylum shopping ». Néanmoins, les procédures et les « transferts Dublin » sont toujours en vigueur et le système toujours actif. Tout porte à croire qu’il continuera d’exister et que la proposition de réforme de la Commission publiée le 4 mai 2016 (COM (2016) 270) relève davantage d’un changement dans la continuité que de la réforme nécessaire pour le rendre plus efficace et pratique.

Dans son évaluation de 2007 du système Dublin, la Commission européenne décrivait déjà ces dysfonctionnements et elle suggérait une réforme du système composé alors du règlement (CE) n ° 343/2003 (règlement « Dublin II »), du règlement (CE) n ° 2725/2000 (« Eurodac ») ainsi que des règlements d’exécution 1560/2003 et 407/2002. La réforme proposée a ainsi été débattue entre 2008 et 2013 et elle a conduit à l’adoption du règlement de Dublin refondu (règlement (UE) n ° 604/2013 « Dublin III ») et Eurodac (règlement (UE) n ° 603 / 2013) en 2013 ainsi que des modifications du règlement d’exécution (règlement (UE) 118/2014). Les principaux objectifs de la refonte étaient à la fois d’améliorer l’efficacité du système et de prévoir des normes plus élevées de protection pour les demandeurs d’asile. Continue reading »

By Dr. Constantin Hruschka, Lecturer at the University of Bielefeld univeristy bielefeld

The Dublin system has been declared dead on numerous occasions over the past decade. It has proven to be highly dysfunctional from the beginning, as the allocation of responsibility did not have the intended effects (i.e. the prevention of “refugees in orbit” and of “asylum shopping”). Nevertheless, Dublin procedures and Dublin transfers are still taking place and the system is still operating. It will continue as the Commission proposal released on 4 May 2016 is a change in the continuity rather than the reform necessary for a more workable and efficient system.

In its 2007 evaluation of the Dublin system, the EU Commission already described these effects and suggested a reform of the system, which then consisted of the Regulation (EC) No. 343/2003 (“Dublin-II-Regulation”) and the Regulation (EC) No. 2725/2000 (“Eurodac-Regulation”) as well as the related Implementing Regulations (Regulation (EC) No. 1560/2003 and Regulation (EC) No. 407/2002). The suggested reform was debated between 2008 and 2013 and led to the adoption of recast Regulations for Dublin (Regulation (EU) No. 604/2013 (“Dublin-III-Regulation”)) and Eurodac (Regulation (EU) No. 603/2013) in 2013 and to changes to the Dublin Implementing Regulation (Regulation (EU) 118/2014). The main aims of the recast were to enhance the efficiency of the system and to provide for higher standards of protection for asylum seekers. Continue reading »

By Eleni Karageorgiou, Lund University, Sweden  lund_university_logotype

Asylum in Sweden: a temporary “respite”

For at least a decade now, Sweden has been amongst the EU countries with the highest rate of first time registered asylum applicants compared to their population. Between 2010 and 2014 Sweden received, on average 24.4 applicants per 1,000 inhabitants. According to the UNHCR Asylum Trends report, the 28 Member States of the European Union registered 570,800 new asylum claims in 2014. Germany and Sweden accounted for 30 (173,100) and 13 (75,100) per cent of all asylum claims in the EU, respectively. In the Nordic Region, Sweden was the main destination country accounting for 70 per cent of all new claims registered.

The landscape has changed significantly after June 2015, when Sweden experienced a 197% increase compared to previous months. The number of monthly applications in August 2015 was 11,735, which more than doubled to 24,261 in September 2015, and increased by a further 61% to 39,055 applications in October 2015. Of a total of 163,000 asylum applications received by Sweden in 2015, 114.000 were lodged within the last three months, September – December 2015. To this number, one should add another 1900 refugees who are yearly resettled in Sweden, through the Swedish refugee quota system.

The increased arrivals of individuals seeking protection in 2015, particularly after the summer were perceived by the government, political parties and local authorities as stretching the state’s reception capacities to its limits. Municipalities have reported that they can no longer manage reception in a secure manner, while the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency has signaled that important public services cannot cope with the strain. According to the Swedish government “Sweden can no longer guarantee a roof over the head of those who make their way to our country and in the last week people have had to sleep outdoors”. Continue reading »