By Niovi Vavoula, Queen Mary University of London


According to the PNR (Passenger Name Record) Directive 2016/681 of 27 April 2016, a series of everyday data of all air passengers (third-country nationals but also EU citizens, including those on intra-Schengen flights) will soon be transferred to specialised units to be analysed in order to identify persons of interest in relation to terrorist offences and other serious crimes. This new instrument raises once again fundamental rights challenges posed by its future operation, particularly in relation to privacy and citizenship rights. Therefore, the story of the PNR Directive, as described below, is probably not finished as such concerns open up the possibility of a future involvement of the Court of Justice.

Continue reading »

by Marcello Di Filippo, Associate Professor of International Law and Coordinator of the Observatory on European Migration Law, University of Pisa (Italy)


(Click here  to hear Francesco Maiani’s (Swiss Member of the Odysseus Network) intervention at the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament on this issue – 4:10 – 22:20)

While the largely failed relocation scheme of 2015 is still in force, the European Commission has put forward a proposal for revising the Dublin III Regulation. Since comments have already been made in the blogosphere (see Hruschka on this blog and Gauci) and a comprehensive study on the need to reform the system has been recently released by a member of the Odysseus Network and presented to the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament (see Maiani), this entry will not provide a general description of the proposal and focus instead on some selected aspects by putting forward some proposals to make the Dublin system less dysfunctional.

Continue reading »

By Phillippe De Bruycker (ULB/EUI) & Evangelia (Lilian) Tsourdi (Max Weber Fellow, EUI)       



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).

Continue reading »

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


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.

Continue reading »

By Catharina Ziebritzki, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law       


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.

Continue reading »

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


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).

Continue reading »