By Phillippe De Bruycker (ULB/EUI) & Evangelia (Lilian) Tsourdi (EUI)       

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The Bratislava Declaration refers on two occasions to “the principles of responsibility and solidarity”. The basic idea is to “broaden EU consensus” by devising a “long term migration policy” on the basis of the two principles.

At first look, this seems logical and even advisable. Since 2015, the EU has been unable to respond effectively to the ‘refugee crisis’. It is only the fragile ‘deal’ with Turkey that brought the illusion of a solution by externalising asylum provision to a third country. The EU remains profoundly divided about possible internal solutions. A European East-West divide has appeared, in addition to the well-known North-South division about the principles evoked in the Bratislava Declaration. Member States in the South have been complaining for years about the lack of solidarity measures, while many Member States in the Northwest have castigated them about their inability to implement their responsibilities. More recently, Member States in the Central/Eastern part of the EU (more precisely the Visegrad group consisting of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland) are refusing, ostensibly in the name of responsibility, to engage in the type of solidarity requested by no longer only the Member States in the South, but also those in the Northwest.

The objective to heal the wounds and reunify EU Member States around the same principles of solidarity and responsibility appears reasonable and even attractive in this setting. If all Member States (including those in the South) are fully responsible, the others (in particular those in the East) will demonstrate greater solidarity, so that the problem may be solved in a balanced way. This presentation based on an opposition between responsibility and solidarity is, however, simplistic and even incorrect from a legal point of view. If there is indeed in EU law a precise legal provision that can be considered to embody responsibility, applicable in the same manner throughout EU law, the same does not hold true for solidarity (1). Moreover, effective solidarity and fair sharing are a prerequisite to responsibility in EU migration and asylum policies, rather than the other way round  (2).

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By Nuno Piçarra, Universidade Nova de Lisboa & European University Institute.

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Le 12 mai 2016, le Conseil a adopté la décision d’exécution 2016/894 « arrêtant une recommandation relative à la réintroduction temporaire du contrôle aux frontières intérieures en cas de circonstances exceptionnelles mettant en péril le fonctionnement global de l’espace Schengen » (ci-après, « décision d’exécution »). Celle-ci se base notamment sur l’article 29 du code frontières Schengen (ci-après, « CFS ») qui prévoit une « procédure spécifique » tendant à la réintroduction d’un tel contrôle. C’est la première fois que cette procédure, ajoutée au CFS par le règlement nº 1051/2013, trouve à s’appliquer.

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By Catharina Ziebritzki, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law       
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This blog post is up to date as of 29 June 2016.

Legal uncertainty seems inherent to the Hotspot system and the “absence of legal clarity, worrying”. The EU-Turkey statement which came into effect on 20 March 2016 has caused major changes to the administrative procedure in the Greek Hotspots. On 1 April 2016, Greek Law 4375 reforming the Asylum System was adopted. Shortly after its last parts took effect on 1 June, it was amended again on 16 June. These recent developments have increased legal uncertainty. The Greek asylum system still suffers from “systemic deficiencies”. This, in combination with the highly politicised nature of recent developments in Greece and the chaotic and tense situation in the Hotspots, has created a significant degree of misinformation, or indeed lack of any information at all, both among potential information providers as well as those that should potentially be entitled to receive information. “Administrative limbo and uncertainty in the Aegean” are the results.

This blog contribution aims to give an overview of the current administrative procedure in the Greek Hotspots and to shed light on some procedural questions. Other crucial issues concerning implementation of the EU-Turkey statement and the Hotspot scheme in general – such as reception conditions which are undeserving of this name, systematic detention since 20 March, detention of unaccompanied minors, conditions of detention and restriction of freedom to an island – are beyond the scope of this article. The anything but decent living conditions however greatly increases the need for working procedures and for asylum-seekers to have information about what will happen to them.

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By Elspeth Guild, Jean Monnet Professor ad personam, Queen Mary University of London    

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In 2009 the EU institutions adopted a directive regulating the admission, residence and rights of highly qualified third country nationals for purposes of relevant employment. This directive is commonly called the Blue Card scheme (Directive 2009/50). While the institutions trumpeted the arrival of a new labour migration tool on the EU market promising that the new directive would transform the attractiveness of the EU’s Internal Market to highly qualified third country nationals encouraging the world’s ‘best and brightest’ to come to work in Europe, the results have been paltry. As the Commission notes (more than once) in its presentation of a new revised version of Blue Card, the original scheme of the directive has “proven insufficiently attractive and underused, with only a limited number of Blue Cards issued.” (European Commission Fact Sheet 7 June 2016).

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By Henri Labayle, Centre de Documentation et de Recherches Européennes (CDRE)

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Cet article est disponible en français.

The media circus of political commentary  does not grasp the scale of the stakes involved in the Brexit result. Now that the referendum is over, the people who complained about the lies and estimations during the campaign still revere the technique of the referendum as a sacred process which should be revered in an established democracy. However, almost by its very nature, the referendum created the conditions for such liberties to be taken with the truth.

Forgetting the conditions surrounding the success of the “no” side of the 2005 Constitutional referendum, they continue to think we can respond to complex issues in a binary manner, and feed the illusion of democracy. Is Boris Johnson’s inconsistency today’s equivalent of Laurent Fabius’ “Plan B” during the Maastricht Referendum in France? And did it make sense at that time to mix the voices of the extreme left and the extreme right?

Indeed, the new champions of the (de) construction of Europe are ignoring the essential facts. Among the burning questions written off in the debate, which British citizens are now discovering, the issue of redefining the external borders of the United Kingdom is not insignificant. The challenges – whether maintaining past situations, such as Gibraltar and the Channel Tunnel, or the new concerns surrounding the relationship with the Republic of Ireland – are serious,  but they are not of the same nature. Continue reading »

Par Henri LabayleCentre de Documentation et de Recherches Européennes (CDRE)

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This article is also available in English .

Les commentaires du feuilleton politico médiatique accompagnant le feuilleton du Brexit ne sont pas à la hauteur de ses enjeux. Les mêmes qui stigmatisent les mensonges et approximations de la campagne référendaire britannique, trouvent logique de sacraliser le procédé référendaire qui l’a conclue, comme si cette technique était un modèle à révérer dans une démocratie accomplie. Elle appelle pourtant presque par nature de prendre de telles libertés avec la vérité.

Oublieux qu’ils sont des conditions dans lesquelles les « non » de 2005 s’étaient agrégés, ils persistent à penser que l’on peut répondre de façon binaire à des questions complexes et nourrissent l’illusion démocratique. L’inconséquence de Boris Johnson a-t-elle quoi que ce soit à envier aujourd’hui au « plan B » de Laurent Fabius et mêler les voix de Jean Luc Mélenchon et du Front national avait-il un sens à l’époque ?

C’est dire si les nouveaux chantres de la (dé)construction européenne ignorent l’essentiel. Parmi les questions brûlantes passées par pertes et profits dans le débat et que découvrent les citoyens britanniques, celle de la redéfinition des frontières extérieures du Royaume Uni n’est pas la moindre. Qu’il s’agisse du maintien de situations antérieures, à Gibraltar comme aux abords du tunnel sous la Manche, ou de l’appréhension nouvelle des relations avec la République d’Irlande, les défis sont sérieux. Ils ne sont pas de même nature.

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